Jack Dorsey

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ack Dorsey (born November 19, 1976) is a co-founder and CEO of Twitter (known on the platform as @jack), a social networking platform, and founder and CEO of Square, a mobile payments platform. Dorsey has faced a lot of attention in recent years as a spokesperson for Twitter as social media sites become some of the most widely used platforms for communication and tech companies are forced to face the responsibility of maintaining an ethical platform. His most prominent moments include his White House meeting with Donald Trump and his testimony to the US Congress on online election meddling and conservative censorship on social media.

Jack Dorsey
Birthname Jack Patrick Dorsey
Date of Birth November 19, 1976 [1]
Birth Place St. Louis, Missouri, U.S [2]
Nationality American
Occupation Web Developer, Entrepreneur [3]
Biography Best known as the CEO and Co-Founder of Twitter and CEO and Founder of Square


Jack Dorsey began his career working on software that managed dispatch centers for couriers at Dispatch Management Services Corporation (DMSC) while he attended NYU. [4] Dorsey later dropped out of NYU to work at a podcasting startup called Odeo. At Odeo, Dorsey came up with the idea for Twitter and developed the concept with entrepreneur Noah Glass. [5] [6] In 2006, Dorsey and some of his Odeo coworkers formed Obvious Corporation, acquiring Twitter from Odeo. [7] From Obvious Corporation came Twitter Inc., with Dorsey as its founding CEO. [8] In 2008, Dorsey stepped down as CEO, becoming chairman of the board.[9] This gave him time to work on his next pursuit: Square, a platform for credit card payments via mobile device. Square launched in 2010, and by 2011, Dorsey was back to Twitter as executive chairman, while continuing to be CEO of Square.[10] Since 2015, Dorsey has been CEO of both Twitter and Square.[11]

Testimony to Congress

In January 2018, the US Senate Intelligence Committee called in Twitter and Facebook to give testimony on Russian election interference via social media. Dorsey testified alongside Facebook’s COO, Sheryl Sandberg, sharing that Twitter found 50,258 accounts linked to Russia sharing election related content.[12]

In September, Dorsey testified to the US House Committee on Energy and Commerce on political bias on Twitter. During the testimony, Dorsey responded to accusations by Republicans that conservative accounts were being shadow banned (de-emphasized in search results by the platform). He denied these accusations, explaining that “from a simple business perspective and to serve the public conversation, Twitter is incentivized to keep all voices on the platform.” Additionally, he shared that an internal review found that a tweet by a Republican member of Congress was being viewed the same number of times as a tweet by a Democratic member of Congress. [13]

Meeting with Donald Trump

Dorsey meeting with Trump at the White House

In April 2019, Jack Dorsey met with Donald Trump in the White House after Trump’s complaints that Twitter was being discriminatory against him as a Republican for removing many of his followers during a purge of fake profiles. In the same purge, Dorsey himself lost around 200,000 followers. While the contents of the meeting are not available to the public, Trump shared in a tweet that they discussed “lots of subjects...regarding their platform, and the world of social media in general." [14]

Dorsey’s Future Plans

Earlier this year, Dorsey announced plans to move to Africa. “Africa will define the future (especially the bitcoin one!). Not sure where yet, but I’ll be living here for 3-6 months mid 2020,” he tweeted. “I think he is definitely looking at the opportunity to get more people to adopt payments on Bitcoin, buying Bitcoin with Square here” thinks Adeoye Ojo, CEO of SureRemit, an African crypto-currency startup. [15] As of the COVID-19 outbreak, Dorsey has been forced to reevaluate these plans. Recently, hedge fund Elliot Management bought a large stake in Twitter and it was rumored that they planned to oust Dorsey as CEO. They were concerned about how well he was leading Twitter while simultaneously leading Square and pursuing other projects like his move to Africa. As of early March 2020, Elliot Management and Twitter have come to an agreement that leaves Dorsey as CEO while appointing 2 new board members. [16]

Ethical Implications

Twitter's Abuse and Harassment Problem

When Jack Dorsey came up with the idea of "Twttr." in 2006, his focus was on the ability for people to share their “status” with others. Many basic decisions that Dorsey and other engineers made with the site in its creation are ones that he regrets today due to their impact now that the site is at such a large scale. [17] “If I had to start the service again, I would not emphasize the follower count as much,” he said. “I don’t think I would even create ‘like’ in the first place, because it doesn’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, participation within conversation, learning something from the conversation.” [18]

To eliminate these aspects of followers and likes would be to eliminate some of Twitter’s main engagement metrics that have become very important to the platform. The emphasis on these metrics fosters an environment that rewards scenarios of accounts being followed by large numbers of bots, or high levels of replies to a tweet, even if the replies are harassment rather than “healthy conversation”. "We have seen abuse, we have seen harassment, we have seen manipulation, automation, human coordination, misinformation," Dorsey said. "These are dynamics that we were not expecting 13 years ago." [19] Dorsey admits that the scale of the problem is large, and that fixing it will involve systemic change, but to make these changes is a risky move for the success of the company.

Jack Dorsey has also said that Twitter’s system for reporting harassment asks too much of victims, and he hopes it will be able to more heavily rely on machine learning to identify abusive tweets so the people being harassed don’t have to. [20]

Bias and Authenticity

Ban on Political Ads

In October 2019, Dorsey announced Twitter’s decision to ban political ads from the platform. "A political message earns reach when people decide to follow an account or retweet. Paying for reach removes that decision, forcing highly optimized and targeted political messages on people. We believe this decision should not be compromised by money," he said. He also acknowledged the growing number of ethical dilemmas that have to be faced if online political ads are allowed. "Internet political ads present entirely new challenges to civic discourse: machine learning-based optimization of messaging and micro-targeting, unchecked misleading information, and deep fakes. All at increasing velocity, sophistication, and overwhelming scale." [21]

This announcement followed criticism of Facebook's decision not to fact-check political ads. [22] To Zuckerberg, Dorsey commented “This isn't about free expression. This is about paying for reach. And paying to increase the reach of political speech has significant ramifications that today's democratic infrastructure may not be prepared to handle." [23]

Identity Verification

Blue Verified Badge

Twitter uses a "blue verified badge" to show that an "account of public interest" is authentic. [24]

During Dorsey's 2018 testimony to Congress, he admitted problems with Twitter’s verification system. The “blue check mark” system that was originally intended to simply confirm identity has become a status symbol on the site that is seen as an endorsement of a verified account’s views even if that is not what Twitter intended it to be. [25]

This statement came after the site was highly criticized when they verified Jason Kessler, the organizer of Charlottesville's white nationalist rally. [26] Twitter removed Kessler's verification, and paused any new verified badges from being given out until the system was fixed. Jack Dorsey doubled down the idea that the blue checkmark did carry some status in a statement that the verification system is "broken and needs to be reconsidered".[27]


  1. Hayes, David C. "Jack Dorsey", Encyclopedia Brittanica, 15 November 2019.
  2. Hayes, David C. "Jack Dorsey", Encyclopedia Brittanica, 15 November 2019.
  3. Hayes, David C. "Jack Dorsey", Encyclopedia Brittanica, 15 November 2019.
  4. Bussgang, Jeffrey. "When Jack Dorsey Met Fred Wilson, And Other Twitter Tales (Book Excerpt)" Tech Crunch, 28 April 2010.
  5. Arrington, Michael. "Odeo Releases Twttr", Tech Crunch, 15 July 2006.
  6. Wolan, Christian. "The Real Story of Twitter", Forbes, 14 April 2011.
  7. Malik, Om. Odeo RIP, "Hello Obvious Corp", Gigaom 25 October 2006.
  8. Bussgang, Jeffrey. "When Jack Dorsey Met Fred Wilson, And Other Twitter Tales (Book Excerpt)" Tech Crunch, 28 April 2010.
  9. McCarthy, Caroline. "Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey steps down", c|net, 17 October 2008.
  10. Indvik, Lauren. "Jack Dorsey Officially Returns to Twitter", Mashable, 28 March 2011.
  11. Koh, Yoree. "Twitter Names Co-Founder Jack Dorsey CEO", Wall Street Journal, 5 October 2015.
  12. Hendry, Erica R. "Read CEO Jack Dorsey’s full testimony on Twitter and political bias", PBS News Hour, 4 September 2018.
  13. Lucas, Amelia. "Twitter shares fall 6% as CEO Jack Dorsey testifies before Senate", CNBC, 5 September 2018.
  14. Sink, Justin. "President Trump Met With Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey After Criticizing the Social Media Platform", Time, 23 April 2019.
  15. Bright, Jake, and Lunden, Ingrid. "Into Africa: tech leaders weigh in on Jack Dorsey’s planned move to the continent", Tech Crunch, 6 January 2020.
  16. Rushe, Dominic. "Twitter and activist investor agree on truce to keep Jack Dorsey as chief", The Guardian, 9 March 2020.
  17. Carlson, Nicholas. "The Real History of Twitter", Business Insider, 13 April 2011.
  18. Wiener, Anna. "Jack Dorsey's TED Interview and the End of an Era", The New Yorker, 27 April 2019.
  19. Bendix, Aria. "Jack Dorsey says Twitter makes it 'super easy' to harass and abuse others, and addressing the problem is his biggest worry", Business Insider, 17 April 2019.
  20. Farhad, Manjoo. "What Jack Dorsey and Sheryl Sandberg Taught Congress and Vice Versa", The New York Times, 6 September 2018.
  21. Ivanova, Irina. "Twitter announces ban on all political ads", CBS News, 31 October 2019.
  22. Wong, Queenie and Mihalcik, Carrie. "Facebook rejected Biden request to pull false Trump ad about Ukraine", c|net, 9 October 2019.
  23. Ivanova, Irina. "Twitter announces ban on all political ads", CBS News, 31 October 2019.
  24. "About verified accounts", Twitter.
  25. Farhad, Manjoo. "What Jack Dorsey and Sheryl Sandberg Taught Congress and Vice Versa", The New York Times, 6 September 2018.
  26. Carson, Biz. "Twitter's Verification System Is A Mess. It Can Look To Airbnb For How To Do It Right", Forbes, 16 November 2017.
  27. Association, Press. "Twitter says its system is 'broken' after far-right organiser wins blue tick", The Guardian, 9 November 2017.