Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey says that labeling two of President Donald Trump’s tweets with fact checks does not make the social media company an “arbiter of truth.”
“Our intention is to connect the dots of conflicting statements and show the information in dispute so people can judge for themselves. More transparency from us is critical so folks can clearly see the why behind our actions,” Dorsey tweeted Wednesday night.
Dorsey was responding to a firestorm of criticism the company has received from conservatives after Twitter began fact checking Trump, who is arguably its most prolific user. Trump has also threatened to take action against Silicon Valley.
The Twitter executive’s remarks also came just hours after Fox News posted part of an interview due to air Thursday with Mark Zuckerberg, in which the Facebook CEO explained why his company did not take action on Trump’s false posts about mail-in ballots.
The tweets in question falsely claimed that the governor of California was sending out mail-in ballots to “anyone living in the state, no matter who they are or how they got there.” Twitter labeled them with a message urging users to “Get the facts about mail-in ballots.” Twitter’s message directly linked to a curated fact-checking page populated with journalists and news article summaries debunking the claim.
“We have a different policy than, I think, Twitter on this,” Zuckerberg told Fox News. “I just believe strongly that Facebook shouldn’t be the arbiter of truth of everything that people say online.”
In his tweets Wednesday, Dorsey also said he takes ultimate responsibility for decisions made by Twitter and asked people to “leave our employees out of this.” Earlier Wednesday, Trump’s two elder sons and White House counselor Kellyanne Conway pointed to tweets made by Twitter employee Yoel Roth in 2016 and 2017 as evidence of Twitter’s alleged bias against the president.
“There is someone ultimately accountable for our actions as a company, and that’s me,” Dorsey said. “Please leave our employees out of this. We’ll continue to point out incorrect or disputed information about elections globally. And we will admit to and own any mistakes we make.”
Twitter also defended Roth earlier Wednesday, saying that, “no one person at Twitter is responsible for our policies or enforcement actions, and it’s unfortunate to see individual employees targeted for company decisions.”
Dorsey, according to a Twitter spokesperson, did not make the decision to label Trump’s tweets. A Twitter spokesperson said the tweets contained “potentially misleading information about voting processes” and had been “labeled to provide additional context.”
Twitter’s unprecedented decision is still likely to raise further questions about its willingness to consistently apply the label to other Trump tweets that have been deemed misleading by third parties, particularly as the president has lobbed baseless allegations against former Rep. Joe Scarborough regarding the death of a congressional staffer years ago.
Some Twitter users have also criticized the company for not going far enough with its new measures, adding that the company should have explicitly said in its label that Trump’s tweets contained false information.