Subscribe for premier reporting on free speech, privacy, Big Tech, media gatekeepers, and individual liberty online.

Twitter co-founder Biz Stone ruminates on why Twitter even exists

If you’re tired of censorship and surveillance, subscribe to Reclaim The Net.

Those who were not around in 2006, or don’t care to remember it, might still be persuaded here in 2019 by the definition of Twitter that Yahoo Finance has to offer.

But back then, Twitter was just a “micro-blogging platform” struggling to sign on just about anybody, not to mention anybody who might be willing to put in a good word to promote this nascent service anywhere in the world.

Nowadays, when another Yahoo Finance speaks about Twitter in 2019, it says:

“In its early days, Twitter was optimistically viewed as a kind of digital pub where you could hang out with friends, meet new people, and shoot the breeze about your interests.”

Sure – it was all beer and skittles. Except it wasn’t. In reality, it was all about ruthlessly spreading the word and growing the userbase by any means – but now, almost 15 years later, now that Twitter has some userbase – although it remains (in)famously sketchy – what’s new?

“The platform is a toxic place for women,” Yahoo says, linking to an Amnesty International page. Then, there’s the accusation of it being “handmaiden to authoritarianism.” Next – politicians, of all people, are being “abused” on Twitter – and this practice is “rife.”

Then there’s “racist abuse of sports people.”

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey’s own account was hijacked in August by hackers who posted a message defending Adolf Hitler – that’s just if you thought Yahoo Finance was shy about referencing Hitler. It’s not. And the overall picture of the platform is pretty much as the cesspit of humanity.

In comes Biz Stone – one of Twitter’s founders, who returned to the company in a role that puzzled the industry for a while – before this Yahoo piece revealed it to be “the moral compass.”

Nothing was right when Stone came back in 2017 – employees feeling not special and leaving, stock tanking, users failing to “grow” – in other words, no profit.

Lately, we’ve heard a lot about Twitter being a “platform for conversation” – even when it outright bans conversation by banning users and content. But at least now we know who to thank for this repetitive and by and large empty narrative – it’s Biz Stone.

“We never articulated a purpose statement for Twitter. Why does Twitter exist? There was no answer. I answered the question with: We serve the public conversation,” Stone told Yahoo Finance.

And Stone had some more revelations from Twitter’s apparent internal soul-searching – “the argument that finally won the day was: I still believe that freedom of speech is a fundamental human right.”

But hang on – because Stone clarified: “I don’t believe that freedom to have that speech amplified by Twitter is a human right. You have to play by our rules.”

If you’re tired of censorship and surveillance, subscribe to Reclaim The Net.

Read more

Join the pushback against online censorship, cancel culture, and surveillance.

Already a member? Login.