Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey suggested that Donald Trump’s conspiracy tweets about Joe Scarborough are better left to the public conversation, “especially with our global leaders,” apparently rejecting calls that the platform remove the president’s posts.
At Twitter’s annual meeting on Wednesday, Dorsey was asked by a shareholder whether the platform would remove the tweets. After Trump had claimed that the 2001 death of Lori Klausutis, an ex-aide to Scarborough, was a cold case and that the Morning Joe co-host was implicated, Klausutis’ widower, Timothy Klausutis, sent a letter to Dorsey asking him to remove the president’s posts because of the pain it has caused the family.
“We feel terrible for what the family is going through as a result of these actions and these behaviors, and we’re doing everything that we can to make sure that we continue to incentivize healthy debate, healthy conversation on Twitter,” Dorsey said. “We also believe that it’s important that people have conversations around what’s happening, especially with our global leaders, that they can push back, that they can speak truth to power, that they can share and show why this particular behavior is not right, and not just.”
Dorsey also suggested that another route would be through the courts.
“We also believe it’s critical that people take to the legal system as well and the courts,” Dorsey said. “We want to make sure that we’re doing our part to maintain the integrity of the conversation, and the biggest risk here … is misleading information, intentionally misleading people in order to take action or not take action. We believe that is absolutely dangerous. And something that we can we can really push on. But there’s a there’s a number of things where the better venue to take this action is within the legal system, and and within that process.”
A 1982 Supreme Court case, Nixon vs. Fitzgerald, determined that presidents were entitled to immunity from damages based on his official acts, but there is some uncertainty as to liability for unofficial conduct.
Klausutis had an undiagnosed heart condition and fell and hit her head at work, a conclusion the coroner reached following an investigation.
Trump targeted Twitter and other social media platforms earlier on Wednesday, threatening them with regulation or to shut them down altogether. That came after Twitter for the first time placed a fact-check link on two of the president’s tweets, having to do with his claims that mail-in voting will lead to widespread voter fraud.
At the annual meeting, Dorsey defended Twitter’s approach to combating election and health misinformation. He said that since March 18, they have removed more than 2,600 tweets containing misleading or potentially harmful misinformation, and their automated system has challenged 4.3 million accounts
ince March 18. When you’re removed over 2600 tweets containing misleading in part, potentially harmful content or automated system so challenge 4.3 million accounts “targeting manipulative discussions around COVID-19.”
“We will continue to use this technology to recognize when people are using bots to alter or to drive the public conversation, or to mislead others,” he said.
Meanwhile, shareholders voted down a proposal that would have added viewpoint discrimination to the company’s equal employment policies.