Pando

Jack Dorsey's character limit

By Paul Bradley Carr , written on September 27, 2017

From The Disruption Desk

The cult of disruption has given us ridesharing apps that target rape victims and social networks that enable treason.

It’s ironic, then, that Twitter - a texting toy founded by three milquetoasts who couldn’t disrupt a dinner party with an airhorn - has turned out to be the most dangerous tech company on the planet.

When world war three comes it won’t be because Travis Kalanick hired the former head of the CIA to build “Uber Military” or because Mark Zuckerberg believed he was smarter than every head of state, but rather because Jack Dorsey was too much of a coward to risk the wrath of MAGA trolls. Silicon Valley’s worst crime won’t be one of arrogance or disruption, but of cowardice and a criminal lack of empathy.

That’s Silicon Valley’s reality and America’s reality and soon it’ll be history’s reality. Absent a miraculous conversion on the way to 1355 Market Street, the name Jack Dorsey will soon take its rightful place alongside those of other hapless, stupid, cowardly, selfish men who, when given an opportunity to stand up to evil at relatively little  physical risk to themselves, chose instead to cower in their summer houses repeating soothing mantras about “freedom of speech” or “fiduciary duty.”

Well, fine. Cower all you like, Jack. Recite all the mantras you’ve highlighted between the covers of your  Little Book of Complicity. But when Trump’s tweets trigger nuclear annihilation or a bloody race war - or both - there’ll be no escaping your legacy. Perhaps you’re telling yourself there’s already no escape, and that’s the latest reason you’re giving yourself for not lifting a finger to stop this madness. But you know that’s not true, like you’ve known all the other excuses were not true.  

You know there’s something you can still do to fix this, which is why you had to change your terms of service to explain why you weren’t doing it. We can’t delete the President’s vitally important tweets, you cry, as the President does precisely that. It’s important that Trump can post his lunatic early morning ramblings on our platform so the world can see them, you bleat, like a terrified parent insisting it’s better that her serial killer son is murdering people in his bedroom because at least she knows where he is.

 Moreover, you know we know there’s something you could do. Which is why you tried to distract your shareholders and users with an utterly pointless doubling of character limits (a wonderfully Trumpian piece of media misdirection) while the foreign minister of North Korea is literally citing something that happened on your product, on your platform, as the casus belli for a conflict that could kill hundreds of thousands of Americans and South Koreans and wipe the nation of North Korea from the map.

 While your non-psychopath users continue to abandon Twitter in droves, and those that remain beg you to protect them from bigots, bullies and bots, you respond with self-pitying, condescending horseshit like this…

...because, like so many cowards, you only find your voice when standing up to the afflicted: the victims of bullying, the recipients of rape threats, the targets of the President’s bigoted tirades. In other words, the people powerless or disinclined to hit back at a billionaire tech founder.

 Once again Jack, but definitely not for the last time: This is on you. You could do something incredible and brave to make the world meaningfully better and meaningfully safer for the millions of people who made you obscenely wealthy. Never mind the billions more who might be affected by a war started on your platform. But it’s clear you’d rather watch the world burn than risk experiencing the kind of harassment and attacks you expect others to endure daily.  

That’s not a crisis of characters, but of character.