No history of World War Three will open with the words “Jack Dorsey had no choice.”
I’m beyond tired of writing stories about Jack Dorsey’s enabling of, and profiting from, Donald Trump’s hateful rhetoric.
You’re beyond tired of reading stories about Jack Dorsey’s enabling of, and profiting from, Donald Trump hateful rhetoric.
Trouble is: Jack “stay woke” Dorsey shows no sign of becoming tired of enabling, and profiting from, Donald Trump’s hateful rhetoric.
The latest example comes in the form of the promoted (i.e. paid) hashtag “#Buildthewall” which began trending a few hours ago. The advertisement, quoting Trump’s famous racist immigration chant, is the work of the Federation for American Immigration Reform or - LOL - “Fair.” As others have pointed out, FAIR has been categorized as a hate group by both the Anti Defamation League and the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC).
Make no mistake: Buying a trending hashtag isn’t some automated process over which Dorsey has no control or oversight. As you might recall, during the election - when it seemed clear Hillary Clinton was going to win and become the most powerful person on earth - Dorsey reportedly personally intervened to block another pro-Trump emoji/hashtag, “Crooked Hillary.” For some unfathomable reason, since Trump won the election - and himself became the most powerful person on the planet - Dorsey’s determination to rid his platform of hate has pulled a u-turn. #Builtthewall is trending, Trump’s psychotic advisors like Roger Stone are being given carte blanche to abuse, bully and otherwise violate Twitter’s very clear terms of service. And of course the President himself is able to use Twitter -- which he has credited for winning him the election -- to tweet America closer to WWIII.
"I wouldn't be here if it wasn't for Twitter" - President Donald Trump
It’s clear that the rhetoric inside Twitter has changed sharply too. This morning, former Twitter head of media, Katie Stanton (who was previously at the US State Department) tweeted this…
Shortly afterward, current Twitter “policy and advocacy” salesperson, Brooks Aukamp (aka the guy whose job it is to sell ads to hate groups like FAIR), responded…
“Proud” to work at a company that takes money for an ad that threatens immigrants, from a group which, per the SPLC, “has ties to white supremacist groups and eugenicists and have made many racist statements.”
In any normal universe, Jack Dorsey’s moral u-turn - and enabling of bullying, bigotry and despotism - would be the biggest scandal in town. Of course, we don’t live in a normal universe - we live in Silicon Valley, home of Uber - so, right now, Dorsey’s ethical cowardice isn’t even the biggest story on the 13th-14th block of Market Street.
The key words are “right now”.
For months, commentators like me - not to mention politicians, analysts and countless regular Twitter users - have been warning that Trump’s use of Twitter might quickly escalate from crazy to lethal. In the past few days, Trump’s tweets goading North Korea have moved that particular doomsday clock closer than ever to midnight.
We face the very, very real possibility that Donald Trump may be the first (and last) president in history to trigger nuclear holocaust with a status update. If that happens - and, again, it’s not a particularly big “if” - every single thing Twitter, or social media, or most of Silicon Valley stretching back to the second world war will be instantly reduced to a historical footnote. Most of it relevant only in so far as it gives context to the main story: How a technology called Twitter, created by a coward called Jack Dorsey, enabled the election of a despot and was then used to trigger the slaughter of millions.
And it won’t be a Gavrilo Princip-esque story of unintended consequences - who could have known that the assassination of Franz Ferdinand would lead to WWI? - it’ll be a story of how Dorsey knew exactly the risks of what he was doing but chose to put personal cowardice - and occasional profit - above taking the gun out of the killer’s hand.
Dorsey’s ad sales guy can continue to express his “pride” in what Twitter has become and Dorsey can swap his #STAY WOKE tshirt for a #MAGA hat and enjoy the short term financial benefits. His friends and paid supporters can continue to insist that he’s a “deeply moral person” and idiots on Twitter can continue to mansplain to Katie Stanton that taking hate ads and supporting Trump is just a sensible commercial decision.
None of it will matter when the first bomb drops. No history book of World War Two has ever opened with the words “the CEO of IBM was a deeply moral person” just as no history of World War Three will open “Jack Dorsey had no choice.”