Twitter CEO and co-founder Jack Dorsey was born November 19, 1976, in St. Louis, Missouri. He currently lives in San Francisco.
Dorsey graduated from Bishop DuBourg High School, a Roman Catholic school in his hometown of St. Louis, in 1995. As a young man, he wrote taxi-dispatching software that taxicab companies opted to use. Dorsey attended and then dropped out of New York University before relocating in 1999 to San Francisco, where he established a business that used the Internet to process the dispatching of taxis, couriers, and emergency vehicles.
In 2006 Dorsey approached entrepreneurs Evan Williams and Christopher “Biz” Stone with an idea about using instant messaging and texting that would later morph into Twitter. Dorsey wrote and published the first-ever tweet that year. Twitter permitted users to publish messages that did not exceed 140 keystrokes. Not long after its founding, Twitter revolutionized mass communication, becoming a popular means of social networking and a mainstream form of communication used by elected officials, celebrities, corporate and philanthropic leaders, athletes, and public figures of all varieties. Dorsey worked as Twitter’s CEO until October 2008, when he assumed the post of Board Chairman.
In 2009 Dorsey co-founded and became CEO of Square, a company that produced software and peripheral devices to carry out credit-card transactions. The service began to operate in 2010 and had more than 2 million users by 2012, expanding to overseas markets such as Japan in 2013. In 2013 as well, Dorsey helped Twitter raise $1.8 billion in capital during the company’s initial public offering. In October 2015, while still CEO of Square, Dorsey again assumed the role of CEO at Twitter.
Twitter Inc. grew under Dorsey’s leadership. Trading on the New York Stock Exchange under the initialism TWTR, the stock closed at $54.14 per share on December 31, 2020, leaving the company with a market capitalization of $43 billion. At that point, some 4,900 workers were employed by Twitter.
It was the surprise election of Donald Trump as U.S. President in November 2016 that made the left-leaning leaders of Silicon Valley come unglued. Leftists across America, unable to accept Democrat candidate Hillary Clinton’s defeat, lashed out at social media, blaming it for Trump’s election because instead of banning Republicans, such services allowed them to participate and advocate their positions.
A month after the election, Dorsey responded to the growing pressure to confess his supposed sins – consisting of failing to censor Trump — by saying that Twitter was not in fact responsible for Trump’s electoral victory. “America’s responsible for Donald Trump being president,” Dorsey declared, adding: “Having the president-elect on our service using it as a direct line of communication allows everyone to see what is on his mind in the moment.” “We’re definitely entering a new world where everything is on the surface and we can all see that in real time and we can have conversations about it,” Dorsey elaborated. “It’s definitely been fascinating to learn from.”
Dorsey acknowledged, however, that he had mixed feelings about Trump using the medium that he (Dorsey) had created. As a Vox.com article from December 6, 2016 said:
“Twitter has been blamed partly for contributing to the rise of Donald Trump. How does CEO Jack Dorsey feel about it? The usually thoughtful Dorsey was even more careful with his response … when asked about Trump’s Twitter use at Recode’s Code Commerce conference in San Francisco. ‘Complicated,’ he said. ‘I feel very proud of the role of the service and what it stands for and everything that we’ve done, and that continues to accelerate every single day. Especially as it’s had such a spotlight on it through his [Trump’s] usage and the election.’”
In July 2016, Twitter banned outspoken conservative Milo Yiannopoulos, a white man who served at that time as the technology editor at the conservative website Breitbart News, after critics claimed that he had harassed comedic actress Leslie Jones, a black woman who appeared in a female-led version of the movie Ghostbusters. Yiannopoulos responded by stating that he simply did not like the movie, and that this did not constitute harassment. Adding that any online trolls who may have gone after Jones were not his responsibility, Yiannopoulos railed at Twitter.
“With the cowardly suspension of my account, Twitter has confirmed itself as a safe space for Muslim terrorists and Black Lives Matter extremists, but a no-go zone for conservatives. Twitter is holding me responsible for the actions of fans and trolls using the special pretzel logic of the left. Where are the Twitter police when Justin Bieber’s fans cut themselves on his behalf?… Anyone who cares about free speech has been sent a clear message: you’re not welcome on Twitter.”
Yiannopoulos also said that Dorsey was “using the [Twitter] network as his own private fiefdom” to advance his preferred political agenda. “This utility, which is how Dorsey has always described it and how he’s wanted Twitter to be perceived, has always been run along party lines,” Yiannopoulos told CNBC. He also pointed out that Twitter’s opaque policies about permissible content were arbitrary. “I want Twitter to be honest with its users about the reasons for suspensions, bannings and all the punitive actions they take on their platform,” he said.
Dorsey replied to Yiannopoulos by saying: “Abuse is not part of civil discourse. It shuts down conversation and prevents us from understanding each other. Freedom of expression means little if we allow voices to be silenced because of fear of harassment if they speak up.”
Twitter censored another of its most popular users, President Donald Trump, in November 2017, deactivating his account for 11 minutes. Dorsey subsequently claimed that the turning off of Trump’s account was a mistake. “We have implemented safeguards to prevent this from happening again,” tweeted the Twitter Government page. “We won’t be able to share all details about our internal investigation or updates to our security measures, but we take this seriously and our teams are on it.”
During the summer of 2018, President Trump and many other Republicans accused Twitter, Facebook, and Google of left-wing political bias. Trump said that these social platforms were “treading on very, very troubled territory and they have to be careful.”
Dorsey in August 2018 stated that Twitter, despite its acknowledged left-wing proclivities, tries to deal with users fairly. “We need to constantly show that we are not adding our own bias, which I fully admit is … more left-leaning,” he told CNN’s Brian Stelter. “But the real question behind the question is, are we doing something according to political ideology or viewpoints? And we are not. Period.”
The interview with Stelter came after conservative Twitter users had criticized the website for its discriminatory “shadow-banning” – invisible blocking or suppressing of tweets— of conservative users. “We believe strongly in being impartial, and we strive to enforce our rules impartially,” Dorsey said on September 5, 2018, in prepared testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee. “In fact, from a simple business perspective and to serve the public conversation, Twitter is incentivized to keep all voices on the platform.”
But the company did have difficulty navigating U.S. elections, Dorsey conceded, saying: “We found ourselves unprepared and ill-equipped for the immensity of the problems we’ve acknowledged. Abuse, harassment, troll armies, propaganda through bots and human coordination, disinformation campaigns and divisive filter bubbles — that’s not a healthy public square.” “Required changes won’t be fast or easy,” Dorsey added. “Today we’re committing to the people and this committee to do it openly.”
The U.S. Department of Justice said then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions would meet with state attorneys general later in September of 2018 to discuss concerns that tech companies “may be hurting competition and intentionally stifling the free exchange of ideas on their platforms.”
In a September 2018 interview published by Recode.net, Dorsey admitted that Twitter staffers with right-leaning political views typically did not feel comfortable to speak up because of the company’s leftist work environment. “We have a lot of conservative-leaning folks in the company as well, and to be honest, they don’t feel safe to express their opinions at the company,” Dorsey said. “They do feel silenced by just the general swirl of what they perceive to be the broader percentage of leanings within the company, and I don’t think that’s fair or right.”
Federal Communications Commissioner Brendan Carr, a Republican appointee, accused Dorsey of “weaponizing” the company for “his own partisan political beliefs,” CNBC reported on June 1, 2020. Twitter has been worse on content moderation than Facebook, Carr said. “I think there’s been a big distinction that last couple weeks between Facebook and Twitter where [Facebook CEO] Mark Zuckerberg has said, look, put my political beliefs to the side and he’s been expressing them and good for him, that’s not how I’m going to support my business, my business is about supporting free speech. Contrast that with Jack Dorsey who looks like he’s now weaponizing his corporation to pursue his own partisan political beliefs.”
Carr’s comments came after Twitter slapped a “public interest notice” over a tweet in which President Trump had stated that law-enforcement would respond forcefully to the violent protests that were erupting in response to the recent death of a black man named George Floyd while he was in the custody of Minneapolis police. Twitter lied, claiming that Trump’s post, which said, “When the looting starts, the shooting starts,” somehow glorified violence, contrary to Twitter policy.
On October 14, 2020 — less than three weeks before the 2020 presidential election — the New York Post published a potentially game-changing story showing that the laptop computer of Hunter Biden, son of Democrat presidential candidate Joe Biden, contained hard evidence of enormous corruption and deception by the entire Biden family.
The very next day, October 15, 2020 — which was part of a time period when tens of millions of Americans were participating in early voting for presidential — Politico reporter Jake Sherman tweeted the following: “I tweeted a link to the New York [P]ost story right after it dropped yesterday morning, I immediately reached out to the Biden campaign to see if they had any answer…. Twitter suspended me.” Twitter justified the suspension by explaining that Sherman’s account had been “locked for violating Twitter rules” against spreading alleged misinformation. Sherman explained, however, that his goal was neither to spread information or misinformation, but simply “to raise questions about the story.”
At a November 17 Senate Judiciary Committee hearing following the 2020 presidential election, Dorsey defended Twitter’s brazen interference by stating that “all of our policies are focused on encouraging more speech.” He lied to lawmakers, claiming that the decision to suppress the New York Post story came out of Twitter’s “hacked materials” policy, even though the younger Biden’s computer had not been hacked.
Dorsey also had the following exchange with Republican Senator Ted Cruz regarding Twitter’s decision to suppress stories about the rampant voter fraud inherent in mail-in ballots, which were widely known to favor Democrats by a wide margin, and whose use in the 2020 election far exceeded any previous use of such ballots in American history:
[Why] is Twitter right now putting purported warnings on virtually any statement about voter fraud?
We’re simply linking to a broader conversation so that people have more information.
No, you’re not. You put up a page that says, “Voter fraud of any kind is exceedingly rare in the United States.” That’s not linking to a broader conversation, that’s taking a disputed policy position. And you’re a publisher when you’re doing that, you’re entitled to take a policy position, but you don’t get to pretend you’re not a publisher and get a special benefit under Section 230 [of the Communications Decency Act] as a result.
That link is pointing to a broader conversation with tweets from publishers and people all around the country.
Mr. Dorsey, would the following statement violate Twitter’s policies, “Absentee ballots remained the largest source of potential voter fraud.”?
I imagine that we would label it so that people can have more context and read through.
Okay. How about this quote, “Voter fraud is particularly possible where third-party organizations, candidates, and political party activists are involved in handling absentee ballots”? Would you flag that as potentially misleading?
I don’t know the specifics of how we might enforce that, but I imagine a lot of these would have a label pointing people to a bigger conversation, a broader conversation.
Well, you’re right, you would label them because you’ve taken the political position right now that voter fraud doesn’t exist. I would note both of those quotes come from the Carter-Baker Commission on Federal Election Reform. That is Democratic President, Jimmy Carter, and former Secretary of State James Baker, and Twitter’s position is essentially voter fraud does not exist. Are you aware that just two weeks ago in the State of Texas, a woman was charged with 134 counts of election fraud? Are you aware of that?
I’m not aware of that.
As of January 2020, Dorsey’s personal net worth was approximately $4.4 billion, having more-than-tripled since prolific Twitter user Donald Trump had become President of the United States three years before. As Forbes magazine noted in January 2020, “the tweeter-in-chief [i.e. Trump] acted as a one-man headline machine for the social media network, creating news by berating his critics, praising his acolytes and firing members of his cabinet—all on Twitter.” Trump used Twitter so much during his 2016 White House bid and after, that some dubbed him the “first Twitter president,” according to The Verge, which noted that Twitter was one of Trump’s “primary forms of communication throughout his presidential campaign and during [the subsequent] transition period.” In light of these facts, it is clear that Jack Dorsey’s economic ascendancy was very much tied to the rise of Trump. And by November of 2020, Dorsey’s net worth had grown even more, to $10.2 billion.
On January 6, 2021 — shortly after several hundred people claiming to be Trump supporters had occupied the Capitol building in Washington, D.C. for several hours to protest what they viewed as an illegitimate 2020 presidential election — Twitter announced that it was suspending President Trump’s account, which had 88 million followers, for 12 hours. Alleging that Trump had incited the protesters’ lawlessness by tweeting that the election had been stolen from him, the company cited “severe violations of our Civic Integrity policy” by the president. Two days later — on January 8, 2021 — Twitter permanently suspended Trump’s account, stating in a tweet: “After close review of recent Tweets from the @realDonaldTrump account and the context around them we have permanently suspended the account due to the risk of further incitement of violence.” In a blog post later that same day, Twitter expanded upon the reasoning behind its decision:
“In the context of horrific events this week, we made it clear on Wednesday that additional violations of the Twitter Rules would potentially result in this very course of action. Our public interest framework exists to enable the public to hear from elected officials and world leaders directly. It is built on a principle that the people have a right to hold power to account in the open. However, we made it clear going back years that these accounts are not above our rules and cannot use Twitter to incite violence. We will continue to be transparent around our policies and their enforcement.”
In the same blog post, Twitter attributed Trump’s permanent suspension to his two most recent tweets, posted on January 8. In the first one, Trump had written: “The 75,000,000 great American Patriots who voted for me, AMERICA FIRST, and MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN, will have a GIANT VOICE long into the future. They will not be disrespected or treated unfairly in any way, shape or form!!!” In the next, he had tweeted, “To all of those who have asked, I will not be going to the Inauguration on January 20th.”
Twitter explained its objection to those two Trump tweets as follows:
Due to the ongoing tensions in the United States, and an uptick in the global conversation in regards to the people who violently stormed the Capitol on January 6, 2021, these two Tweets must be read in the context of broader events in the country and the ways in which the President’s statements can be mobilized by different audiences, including to incite violence, as well as in the context of the pattern of behavior from this account in recent weeks. After assessing the language in these Tweets against our Glorification of Violence policy, we have determined that these Tweets are in violation of the Glorification of Violence Policy and the user @realDonaldTrump should be immediately permanently suspended from the service…. This determination is based on a number of factors, including:
- President Trump’s statement that he will not be attending the Inauguration is being received by a number of his supporters as further confirmation that the election was not legitimate and is seen as him disavowing his previous claim made via two Tweets (1, 2) by his Deputy Chief of Staff, Dan Scavino, that there would be an “orderly transition” on January 20th.
- The second Tweet may also serve as encouragement to those potentially considering violent acts that the Inauguration would be a “safe” target, as he will not be attending.
- The use of the words “American Patriots” to describe some of his supporters is also being interpreted as support for those committing violent acts at the US Capitol.
- The mention of his supporters having a “GIANT VOICE long into the future” and that “They will not be disrespected or treated unfairly in any way, shape or form!!!” is being interpreted as further indication that President Trump does not plan to facilitate an “orderly transition” and instead that he plans to continue to support, empower, and shield those who believe he won the election.
- Plans for future armed protests have already begun proliferating on and off-Twitter, including a proposed secondary attack on the US Capitol and state capitol buildings on January 17, 2021.
As such, our determination is that the two Tweets above are likely to inspire others to replicate the violent acts that took place on January 6, 2021, and that there are multiple indicators that they are being received and understood as encouragement to do so.
Dorsey was vacationing on a private island in French Polynesia when he made the decision to permanently suspend Trump’s Twitter account. On January 6 Dorsey received a phone call from Twitter’s top lawyer, Vijaya Gadde, to whom Dorsey had delegated all moderation-related decisions, and Gadde informed Dorsey that Trump’s account had been temporarily suspended in order to prevent him from posting any further statements relating to the protests at the Capitol. According to a New York Times report: “Mr. Dorsey was not sold on a permanent ban of Mr. Trump. He emailed employees the next day, saying it was important for the company to remain consistent with its policies, including letting a user return after a suspension. Many workers, fearing that history would not look kindly upon them, were dissatisfied. Several invoked IBM’s collaboration with the Nazis … and started a petition to immediately remove Mr. Trump’s account.” But after Trump subsequently posted two additional tweets on January 8, Dorsey and other Twitter executives decided that he had “crossed a line.” Thus came the permanent suspension, which caused many Twitter employees to celebrate — in some cases weeping with joy.
On January 14, 2021, the investigative news organization Project Veritas released a new undercover video provided by an insider at Twitter who recorded Dorsey stating that the censoring of President Trump was merely the beginning of what would become a much larger censorship effort, and vowing to impose additional restrictions against Trump and conservatives on the Twitter platform. Said Dorsey in the video:
“We are focused on one account [@realDonaldTrump] right now, but this is going to be much bigger than just one account, and it’s going to go on for much longer than just this day, this week, and the next few weeks, and go on beyond the [Joe Biden] inauguration…. So, the focus is certainly on this account [@realDonaldTrump] and how it ties to real world violence. But also, we need to think much longer term around how these dynamics play out over time. I don’t believe this is going away anytime soon. And the moves that we’re making today around Q Anon [the suspension of more than 70,000 accounts that were allegedly dedicated to sharing QAnon content], for instance, [is] one such example of a much broader approach that we should be looking at and going deeper on. So, the team has a lot of work and a lot of focus on this particular [Trump] issue, but we also need to give them the space and the support to focus on the much bigger picture, because it is not going away. You know, the U.S. is extremely divided. Our platform is showing that every single day, and our role is to protect the integrity of that conversation, and do what we can to make sure that no one is being harmed off that. And that is the focus. And that is the color we want to provide.”
On July 7, 2021, former President Donald Trump announced that he, as the lead plaintiff, was launching, on behalf of the victims of “cancel culture,” a class action lawsuit against Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, and Google CEO Sundar Pichai. Specifically, Trump said he was demanding the end of “shadow banning” and “blacklisting,” and that “we are asking the court to impose punitive damages on these social media giants.” “There is no better evidence that big tech is out of control than the fact that they banned the sitting President of the United States earlier this year, a ban that continues to this day,” he added.
In 2016, Dorsey fully funded all classroom and school projects, about 600 of them in all, that Missouri teachers had registered on the DonorsChoose.org website. Among the items funded were Chromebook computers, butterfly kits, and basic school supplies such as crayons and scissors.
In 2017, Dorsey and Twitter’s executive chairman, Iranian-American businessman Omid Kordestani, matched a $530,000 donation to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) that was raised by Twitter employees soon after the ACLU challenged President Trump’s travel ban that prevented people from terrorism-prone countries from visiting the United States. (This was the Trump policy that the Left dishonestly labeled a “Muslim ban.”) The Dorsey-Kordestani match brought the Twitter total donation to $1.59 million. Said Twitter general counsel Vijaya Gadde in a memo about the donation: “Our work is far from done. In the coming months we’ll see a flurry of legal challenges, legislative pushes and public pronouncements. But as long as civil liberties are threatened, I’m proud to know that as individuals we will stand up to defend freedom and look after people.”
In 2019, Dorsey donated enough money to #TeamTrees, a nonprofit devoted to planting trees, to plant 150,000 trees.
In April 2020, Dorsey wrote on his Twitter page that said he would donate about $1 billion to Start Small, LLC, for relief programs related to COVID-19. “After we disarm this pandemic, the focus will shift to girl’s health and education, and UBI,” he wrote. UBI refers to Universal Basic Income, a kind of welfare scheme that guarantees a certain amount of taxpayer-funded money to every low-income American, regardless of whether or not they are employed.
In early June 2020, Dorsey announced his plan to donate $3 million to ex-NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s activist organization Know Your Rights Camp, whose stated mission is “to advance the liberation and well-being of Black and Brown communities.” Dorsey echoed that mission when he said in a tweet that he was giving “$3mm to Colin @Kaepernick7’s @yourrightscamp to advance the liberation and well-being of Black and Brown communities through education, self-empowerment, mass-mobilization to elevate the next generation of change leaders.”
In the 2020 election cycle, Dorsey donated to two unsuccessful Democratic presidential candidates: U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard and Washington Governor Jay Inslee.
Dorsey also gave $250 to Reshma Saujani in her unsuccessful run for the Democratic nomination for New York’s 24th congressional district in 2010; $500 to Tommy Sowers for his unsuccessful run for the Democratic nomination for Missouri’s 8th congressional district in 2010; and $2,500 to Richard Carmona, a Democrat-turned-Independent, for his unsuccessful for the Democratic nomination for the U.S. Senate seat in Arizona in 2012.
Further Reading: “Jack Dorsey” (Britannica.com)
In a May 1, 2017 text message to Tony Bobulinski, Hunter Biden suggested that he wished to set up a shell company to do business with CEFC China Energy, so he could avoid registering as a foreign agent and thus be able to bid on U.S. government contracts in the future. “We don’t want to have to register as foreign agents under the FCPA [Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and Foreign Agents Registration Act], which is much more expansive than people who should know choose not to know,” Biden wrote. “No matter what it will need to be a US company at some level in order for us to make bids on federal and state funded projects.”
The very next day, Hunter Biden arranged a meeting between his father, Joe Biden, and Bobulinski, one of the prospective partners in a deal with CEFC.