Today: 23.09.2018
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22.09.2018

Don’t crucify Twitter’s CEO for telling the truth.

Twitter chief Jack Dorsey has proved to be more reluctant than other social-media giants (ahem, Facebook) to give in to progressive outrage mobs’ demand for censorship. Essentially, he’s been less willing to throw his company under the bus. That’s good, because there’s less wrong with Twitter than his tormentors want him to believe. On Sunday,...
Time: 19:36     Date: 20.08.2018
Last US News - Opinion: Don’t crucify Twitter’s CEO for telling the truth. NY Post 24 - US News

That’s good, because there’s less wrong with Twitter than his tormentors want him to believe.

On Sunday, CNN anchor Brian Stelter asked Dorsey what was broken about Twitter. Dorsey replied, “I think it really depends on who you follow and your perception of what you see and how you feel about things.” This is undeniably true and Dorsey deserves credit for rejecting Stelter’s question on its premise.

The desire to bring Twitter under some form of modern-discourse control isn’t, at its root, about having a healthier conversation. It’s about powerless gatekeepers rebuilding their fallen industry. It’s about control. Remember, the thrust of Twitter and Facebook into the political media spotlight occurred when someone on the opposite side of the political aisle utilized the platform to launch themselves into the White House. Social media ever since has been a scapegoat for network media not being able to face up to their own role in the 2016 election.

In contrast to Mark Zuckerberg’s continuing list of changes in response to congressional anger over trolls using social media to troll, Dorsey believes it is “dangerous for a company like ours to be the arbiters of truth.” The truth is, Twitter isn’t broken. Our media culture is.

The spread of misinformation is largely a self-inflicted wound by traditional media outlets who decided to choose political ideology, the exclusion of information and the naked ideological positions on gun control, immigration, health care, etc., over their own credibility. Perhaps instead of targeting loony conspiracy performers, journalists should start rehabilitating their own reputations before they worry about attempting to rehabilitate and control Twitter’s.

“Is your job,” Stelter asked Dorsey, “to make sure people are not misinformed on Twitter?” The simple answer is no, that’s not Dorsey’s job. That’s Brian Stelter’s job, and that of journalists and fact checkers engaged on the platform. What Stelter and others in his profession believe is that Twitter should act and behave like the very network media company it helped all but kill off.

Dorsey’s critics in media believe we still live in a media landscape where they are the purveyors of information and we, the other non-credentialed users of Twitter, are simply there to soak up and receive their information as they give it to us. That’s not what social media is.

On Twitter, we’re all journalists. We don’t need ESPN for sports scores anymore and we don’t need the likes of Dan Rather and Tom Brokaw filtering information through their own personal worldview and dishing it out to us at a time that they see fit. Gone are the days when reporters and anchors can frame a story the way they see fit without any real public criticism or calling out their all-too-obvious biases. Now that criticism is on display for anyone to see or participate in. The “reader’s letters” is talking back, and that’s what they despise most about it.

Dorsey’s an easy target for both left and right. When faced with questions of policy and transparency, his responses usually are a word salad regarding the need to have an ongoing conversation about the convergence of the human soul and technology — things completely incompatible with each other. He doesn’t seem to understand what people expect him to do about human nature. That’s because the correct answer is: nothing. Trolls will always exist. As will viewpoints you or I might find repulsive.

The hard truth is, Dorsey’s right: Twitter is whatever a user wants it to be. If a user wants to engage in abuse and drama on Twitter, they will find plenty of it. If they want to block it all out, they can do so. If they want to cocoon themselves inside an ideological bubble where their only source of information is MSNBC or Infowars, they’re free to do that as well.

It may not be pretty at times, but that’s not Dorsey’s fault. And he’s been trying, ever so subtly and gently, to say so. Good for him.

Stephen L. Miller lives in New York and writes about politics and culture.

Opinion

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Opinion

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Living

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Business

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Metro

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Sport

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