Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey says ‘we aren’t proud of how people have taken advantage of our service,’ pledges big fixes

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey

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Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey
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Kimberly White/Getty Images

  • Jack Dorsey, the CEO of Twitter, acknowledged the frequent abuse of the microblogging platform this morning, and committed to improving the “health” of conversation on Twitter.
  • In a series of tweets, Dorsey explains that the social media giant is looking to create a “holistic system” for change, rather than simply troubleshooting the “the problematic parts.”
  • Dorsey also announced a plan to recruit outside experts that can help measure and improve the “health” of conversation on Twitter, as well as report on its progress.

In a series of tweets, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey admitted the social media giant “didn’t fully predict or understand the real-world negative consequences” of its platform, and invited help from users and experts to help correct the course.

“We have witnessed abuse, harassment, troll armies, manipulation through bots and human-coordination, misinformation campaigns, and increasingly divisive echo chambers,” wrote Dorsey. “We aren’t proud of how people have taken advantage of our service, or our inability to address it fast enough.”

Dorsey’s admission comes on the heels of criticism of what many perceive to be Twitter’s laissez-faire response to the hoaxes, conspiracy theories, misinformation, fake news, and Russia-linked bots that spreads through its network. Extremist political groups, including the so-called alt-right, rely on Twitter to recruit and spread.

Critics say that Twitter allows this behavior to carry on in the name of increasing user engagement with the platform, in a play to appease Wall Street investors. In his tweets, Dorsey disputes this characterization.

“While working to fix it, we’ve been accused of apathy, censorship, political bias, and optimizing for our business and share price instead of the concerns of society. This is not who we are, or who we ever want to be,” he wrote.

To help fix things, Dorsey says, Twitter is attempting to “increase the collective health, openness, and civility of public conversation.” He says that Twitter will move away from focusing its efforts on policing unwanted or illegal content, and towards encouraging the behaviors it considers more positive.

To that end, Dorsey called for for submissions for ideas to help identify, measure, and report the “health” of conversation on Twitter, offering “unrestricted” funding for the chosen contributor, as well as collaboration with the Twitter team to make it a reality.

This window to submit ideas will remain open until Friday, April 13, and Twitter says it plans to announce the first of the selected projects in July.

This announcement comes a week after Twitter’s security team promised they would be taking steps to protect the survivors of the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida from online abuse and conspiracy theories.

Here’s the full tweetstorm: