Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey reveals 1 thing he would change if he had to ‘start the service again’
Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey is proud of the various benchmarks his social media service has met over its 13-year lifespan. Twitter shares surged this week as the company announced its number of daily active users increased 11 percent year over year in its first quarter.
However, that doesn’t mean Dorsey doesn’t have some regrets about the platform, specifically its layout.
During a discussion at TED’s 2019 conference with moderators Chris Anderson and Whitney Pennington Rodgers earlier this month, the 42-year-old entrepreneur acknowledged social media has incented somewhat of a mob mentality and group harassment. Dorsey previously said in a candid statement on Twitter that the site has been infiltrated with “abuse, harassment, troll armies, manipulation through bots and human-coordination, misinformation campaigns and increasingly divisive echo chambers.”
The topic of harassment has repeatedly surfaced over the years and Twitter has constantly been toughening its policies in an attempt to combat it.
“One reason why you have so much content on there is a result of putting millions of people around the world in this kind of gladiatorial contest with each other for followers … for attention,” said Anderson, claiming that many users try to increase their follower count by being “some form of provocative.”
Dorsey said one of the biggest contributors may be a feature on Twitter profiles that was incorporated during the platform’s 2006 launch.
“If I had to start the service again, I would not emphasize the ‘follower’ count as much. I would not emphasize the ‘like’ count as much. I don’t think I would even create ‘like’ in the first place.”
“One of the choices we made in the early days was, we had this number that showed how many people follow you,” Dorsey explained at the 2019 TED talk. “We decided that number should be big and bold, and anything that’s on the page that’s big and bold has importance, and those are the things that you want to drive.”
“Was that the right decision at the time? Probably not,” admitted Dorsey. “If I had to start the service again, I would not emphasize the ‘follower’ count as much. I would not emphasize the ‘like’ count as much. I don’t think I would even create ‘like’ in the first place.”
Instead of highlighting popular accounts, Dorsey said it would have been better to instead encourage users to follow different topics — like hashtags, for example.
“[Followers and ‘likes’ don’t] actually push what we believe now to be the most important thing, which is healthy contribution back to the network and conversation to the network,” said Dorsey, adding that they’re analyzing how they display certain numbers on Twitter profiles.
“We have to just ask the deep question: Is this really the number that we want to drive up?” he added. “I don’t believe that’s the case right now.”