Twitter was never truly meant to be the free speech wing of the free speech party, the company’s CEO Jack Dorsey said on stage at the Wired 25 Summit in San Francisco Monday. “This quote… was never a mission of the company,” he said. “It was a joke.”
Twitter had long been known as a stronger defender of free speech than other online services, which some attributed to a desire for a commitment to free speech. “We were not absolutist,” Dorsey said, admitting that free speech wasn’t actually top of mind when he co-founded the company. “When we started the company, we weren’t thinking about this at all.”
Dorsey said that the company has been focusing more on the possible downsides of free speech in recent years. “We believe our superpower is around conversation.” he said. “It also comes with a realization that freedom of expression may adversely impact other human rights.”
Dorsey’s talk at the Summit was preceded with an appearance of Instagram co-founder Kevin Systrom, who detailed how the service was using artificial intelligence (AI) to fight abuse.
Twitter’s CEO admitted that his company wasn’t yet using AI as much for that purpose. “We have been behind on that,” he said. “We will definitely use AI to help people feel safe to express themselves. We will be implementing more AI.”