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Jack Dorsey on Social Media and Deepfakes: Warns of Corporate Ownership of Identities “That’s Super Scary”

Published May 10, 2024 2:19 PM
James Morales
Published May 10, 2024 2:19 PM

Key Takeaways

  • Jack Dorsey has explained why Twitter banned Donald Trump under his leadership.
  • Post-Twitter, Dorsey has focused his attention on open protocols rather than privately controlled platforms.
  • As well as being resistant to censorship, Dorsey said he thinks solutions like Nostr could increase trust.

When Jack Dorsey made his final departure from Twitter in 2022, the company was embroiled in a debate about freedom of speech on the internet. 

That debate is still raging on 2 years later, even though Elon Musk has taken a markedly different approach to content moderation than his predecessor. But Dorsey believes that as long as private entities control them, X nor any other social media platform can ever be completely free of censorship.

Social Media Censorship

To many people, Jack Dorsey is the face of social media censorship – the man who booted Donald Trump off Twitter and oversaw a platform-wide crackdown on anti-vaxers, anti-maskers and other users who held controversial opinions.

But since his departure from the company, Dorsey has attempted to rebrand himself as a free-speech libertarian and decentralization maximalist. 

In a recent interview , he said that the decision to ban Donald Trump from Twitter “was right for the business, because if we didn’t act on it, we probably would have lost all our advertisers.”

However, he added that it “was wrong for the world and the internet, given the fact that we could do it in the first place. No one should be able to do that.”

Why Jack Dorsey Stepped Down From BlueSky

Dorsey’s belief that only open protocols can ever be truly resistant to censorship inspired Twitter’s investment in BlueSky, which was originally started as an internal project before spinning off into a separate entity.

But although it was originally intended to be a protocol layer for a varied social media ecosystem, Dorsey acknowledged that BlueSky never lived up to that original vision.

The BlueSky app was originally meant to be a model for others to follow. “But what happened is, people started seeing Bluesky as something to run to, away from Twitter,” he noted. Rather than being a platform-agnostic protocol, it ended up becoming just another platform.

Dorsey accepts that Bluesky has gone in a different direction and has stepped down from the company’s board. But he said the idea of an open-source, decentralized social media protocol lives on in Nostr.

Nostr and Digital Identities

If censorship resistance is the most important feature of decentralized technologies, immutability is its most critical underpinning.

While Nostr’s public key cryptography has obvious advantages when it comes to undermining government or corporate control of social media, Dorsey thinks it could also increase trust in the era of deepfakes.

Speculating on how technology could overcome the problem, he said “it has to start with your own identity, and who owns your identity.”

“Right now, all the companies own our identities. To me, that’s super scary because again, can they be compromised? Can a government hold them to account? And the answer is absolutely yes, and you’re seeing how that has played out over the years.”

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