By David Meyer
February 13, 2019

Good morning. David Meyer here, filling in for Alan from Berlin.

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey had a most illuminating grilling by journalist Kara Swisher yesterday, on his own platform, naturally.

Much of the interview’s newsworthiness came from Dorsey’s answers, which I’ll get to in a moment. But first it’s worth noting that many found the interview hard to follow, due to the limitations of Twitter’s current design—tweets were appearing out of order, and other users were confusing matters due to their ability to interject using the #karajack hashtag.

Why does this matter? Some of the most prominent conversations of our time take place on Twitter, for better or for worse, and bad things happen when context gets fuzzy. Will Dorsey improve this aspect of the platform? Well, he wants to, at least. “Definitely not easy to follow the conversation,” he said, later adding: “This whole experience is a problem statement for what we need to fix.”

Now, those answers. The real headline-grabber there was Dorsey’s response to Swisher’s question about whom he considers the “most exciting influential on Twitter” at the moment. “I like how @elonmusk uses Twitter,” Dorsey said. “He’s focused on solving existential problems and sharing his thinking openly. I respect that a lot, and all the ups and downs that come with it.”

Musk, lest we forget, used Twitter to a) falsely and repeatedly accuse someone of pedophilia, and b) make a false funding statement that ultimately got him booted as Tesla chair as part of an SEC settlement that also left his wallet $20 million lighter. I have no doubt that Dorsey respects Musk’s Twitter usage, which has brought Twitter a lot of attention, but it hasn’t necessarily been good for Musk.

And what of Twitter’s notorious abuse problem? Dorsey acknowledged it was a “huge fail” that Twitter puts “most of the burden on the victims of abuse.” Swisher pushed back, repeatedly asking things like: “WHAT are you changing? SPECIFICALLY.” Dorsey responded with a stream of waffle including this gem: “We action all we can against our policies.” (Reminder: he’s the CEO.)

Full marks to Dorsey for engaging with Swisher, the toughest of interviewers, in this fashion. But I’m not at all certain he came out of it well, and I’m less sure than ever that Twitter has the faintest idea of how to solve problems that it’s been facing for years.

News below.

David Meyer
@superglaze
david@dmeyer.eu

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