Jack Dorsey, Mark Zuckerberg and the fight for social media's soul -- and survival

President Trump's attacks on social media spotlight the variations among the leaders of Facebook and Twitter.


To understand the distinction between Mark Zuckerberg's and Jack Dorsey's management styles, let's start with a tale of some goat.

About 10 years ago, Facebook's founder invited Twitter's chief to his Silicon Valley domestic for dinner and served a goat he'd just killed. Zuckerberg had hunted the animal as a part of a famous New Year's Day mission all through which he vowed to simplest consume meat he'd individually slaughtered. When the goat came out, the beef changed into cold, Dorsey told Rolling Stone remaining year. "I simply ate my salad," stated Dorsey, a finicky eater who practices intermittent fasting.

The home-cooked meal wasn't just a weird interaction among  of big Tech's most powerful moguls. It's an example, granted an intense one, of an smooth fact: Jack Dorsey and Mark Zuckerberg do matters differently. Those differences, in turn, play out on their freewheeling social networks, which might be now at the middle of a growing political controversy over misinformation, loose speech and content material moderation at some stage in a international where most of the people get their information online first.

At the center of that controversy is President Donald Trump, a fanatical Twitter user who is griped about social media for years at the same time as he is used the systems to reach his base. His anger hit a substitute ceiling inside the week when he signed an executive order taking aim at Facebook and Twitter. The order sets the stage for discussion to go back approximately whether or not social media platforms have to maintain their protected repute as distributors of content material -- rather than publishers of content -- below Section 230 of the 1996 Communications Decency Act.

In the few days after Trump announced (thru tweets, of course) his determine to project the social media giants, the responses from Dorsey and Zuckerberg could not be more different. Twitter has long past all-in, calling out Trump, flagging his tweets for misleading data approximately mail-in ballots and for "glorifying violence." Facebook, meanwhile, has left Trump's posts on the social community alone, and is visible as looking to mollify the president. 

Through it all, Zuckerberg and Dorsey have taken potshots at every different's agencies, shattering a decorum usually practiced through Silicon Valley's elite. On Wednesday, Zuckberberg went on Fox News -- acquainted turf for Trump -- to proclaim that Facebook have to no longer be an "arbiter of truth," name-checking Twitter as he did. Without citing Facebook directly, Dorsey fired again hours later for the duration of a series of tweets. "We'll still way incorrect or disputed records about elections globally," he wrote. "This doesn't make us an 'arbiter of truth.'"

"The groups are surely taking  very different processes," said Jen King, a director at Stanford Law School's Center for Internet and Society. Dorsey may additionally feel easier pushing lower back due to the fact Twitter -- although it does attract attention -- hasn't been below an equivalent excessive microscope as Facebook and Zuckerberg, she said. "To the volume that these corporations are reflections of their founders and leaders, Twitter just hasn't had an equal questions around ethics that Facebook has."


A deep divide


For years the president has complained, with out evidence, that Silicon Valley has it out for conservatives. On Thursday, Trump's rage closer to Twitter, which he makes use of a day to reach his 80 million followers, boiled over as he signed an executive order that threatens to clamp down on social media organizations. 


"We're here today to defend unfastened speech from one a number of the best dangers it's confronted in American records," Trump said inside the Oval Office whilst signing the order.


The catalyst got here earlier inside the week, while Twitter for the primary time implemented labels to 2 of Trump's tweets. The company flagged one put up, which shared inaccurate information about mail-in ballots, for holding "probably misleading information." Two days later Twitter flagged some other tweet, at some point of which the president, seeming to reference comments that helped spark Miami race riots within the 1960s, warned protesters in Minneapolis that looters could be shot. Twitter said the tweet violated its community standards against "glorifying violence." 


Trump posted an equivalent message, which suggested the military might take hold of matters , on Facebook. The publish has been liked quite 240,000 instances and shared 64,000 times. Facebook, which didn't remove the post, did not answer an invitation for comment.


 But Zuckerberg explained the selection on Friday afternoon, reportedly after employees started out questioning control's inaction on inner message boards. "All this factors to a truely high risk of a violent escalation and civil unrest in November," one employee reportedly wrote. "If we fail the take a look at match right here, history won't decide us kindly."


"I've been scuffling with the manner to reply the President's tweets and posts all day," Zuckerberg wrote, explaining his decision. He said Facebook interpreted Trump's regard to the National Guard "as a warning about kingdom action," and decided the submit must stay awake . 


"Personally, I actually have a visceral poor response to the present quite divisive and inflammatory rhetoric," Zuckerberg added. "But I'm chargeable for reacting no longer simply in my private capacity however due to the fact the chief of an establishment dedicated to free expression. I do know a lot of us are disillusioned that we've left the President's posts up, however our role is that we should constantly permit the maximum amount expression as viable unless it'll motive imminent threat of specific harms or dangers spelled name at clear policies."


Trump's executive order asks for country companies along with the Federal Communications Commission and Federal Trade Commission to reinterpret the CDA law that shields tech structures from liability for content material published with the aid of users. Many lawyers, activists and teachers say Trump's order isn't workable, with some calling it political theater and observe it'll probably face legal challenges. Both the FTC and consequently the FCC are independent organizations, so it is going to be up to them whether or not to require action.


But that doesn't make it meaningless. Trump's energetic merchandising of the order can also force Dorsey, Zuckerberg and other social media executives to dig their heels in on their already diverging techniques to moderating content material. 


Twitter and Facebook have differed sharply in coverage decisions in the past. Last year, Dorsey stated Twitter might ban political ads, with multiple exceptions. Twitter, for instance , allows commercials with messages approximately problems concerning the surroundings or economy, however they can not push precise law or political solutions. 


Facebook is more hospitable political marketing. The social community does not send ads from politicians to fact-checkers however consists of them all through a public database. It also limits the amount of political commercials people see on the social community. Amid criticism, Zuckerberg defended the selection ultimate year at some stage in a speech at Georgetown University, saying the company stands for "voice and loose expression."


As Twitter and Facebook once more deviate in their methods to speech on their systems, civil rights corporations are applauding Twitter. But they assert Dorsey ought to go even further.


"Now that Twitter is emboldened, sees the overall public is at the back of them, and has committed to doing its part to flag disinformation and threats of violence from the president, it need to also take a stand against other hateful pastime on its platform," stated Henry Fernandez, co-founder of Change the Terms, a coalition of advocacy businesses targeted on "decreasing hate on-line."


'The whole international turned into watching'


Zuckerberg, 36, and Dorsey, 43, are alike in a few ways . Both dropped out of prestigious schools to maneuver to Silicon Valley . the two are making greater media appearances as their organizations come under attack , however neither is in particular comfortable within the glare of a tv studio. They've each pledged to provide away huge chunks in their multibillion-greenback fortunes. 


But as Silicon Valley founders pass, they may be polar opposites. 


Zuckerberg has frequently referred to Gates as a critical influence. Both are Harvard University dropouts. Both are cerebral, Zuckerberg such lots so he is been derided as robotic. Like Gates, Zuckerberg is becoming famous for his philanthropy. The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, a business enterprise he and wife Priscilla Chan founded in 2015, makes a speciality of schooling and medicine, an equivalent playbook employed by way of the 20-year-old Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.






By contrast, Dorsey's tale greater carefully resembles that of Gates' tech nemesis: Steve Jobs. Apple's cofounder was famously ousted from the corporate he started, simplest to go back in 1996 to save plenty of it from the threshold of collapse. Dorsey, too, become pressured out of Twitter for years earlier than reclaiming the best activity in 2015. 


Like Jobs, who turned into often visible as a replacement age hippie, Dorsey is known for his quirks. The ny Times once known as him "Gwyneth Paltrow for Silicon Valley ," bringing up his role as a health guru for the tech international, his penchant for meditation retreats, ice baths and intermittent fasting. And he's noted for occasionally delegating policy decisions, "looking the speak from the sidelines so he would not dominate collectively with his personal views," the NYT stated. Dorsey is additionally CEO of the cellular bills technology enterprise he based, Square.


Dorsey additionally features a history with activism. In 2014, he participated inside the Ferguson, Missouri, protests after the demise of Michael Brown, an 18-year-vintage Black man shot dead by way of a white policeman . Dorsey, who grew up in close by St. Louis, stated on the time it had been "stunning" to ascertain people the usage of the carrier to set up and protest. 


"That changed into so crucial to humans on the bottom ," Dorsey said. "It felt much like the whole world become watching.

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