Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey discusses fake news, online addiction, more at IIT Delhi

The answer to the most important question? No, we will not be able to edit posts on Twitter.

At an event in IIT Delhi, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey held a Townhall meetup today where he addressed the students of the institute and spoke about Twitter's brand new Youth initiative called #Powerof18. The program encourages everyone to exercise their right to vote. The meetup also addressed how the platform is working towards curbing fake news ahead of the 2019 elections.

Jack Dorsey. Reuters.

Jack Dorsey. Reuters.

Twitter’s VP and Managing Director, Maya Hari said at the event that they did a survey in the country and found that 94 percent of Indians who turned 18 felt that their right to vote was the primary privilege they received, and about half of those felt that they could bring change to the society by exercising that right.

And so, today’s Townhall mostly concentrated on pushing the new hashtag #Powerof18, which comes with a dedicated emoticon that shows an inked fingernail. Twitter said that it would use its India page to promote the initiative.

Further, with the 2019 Elections just months away, Dorsey also talked about how Twitter is working on curbing the spread of Fake News on the platform. He said that Twitter is taking "multi-variable" steps, including the use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) tools, to curb the spread of misleading information.

"Even jokes can be categorised as misinformation, but what matters is the intent with which it is said. Fake information is alarming when it leads you to take misleading action which you may otherwise not need to take,” Dorsey said.

As part of the Townhall, Dorsey was today also asked about the addiction that social media platforms like Twitter can encourage. The Twitter CEO gave a very interesting answer to this. He said that when he and Biz Stone (he co-founded Twitter) were working on the design of the platform, they thought that the counter that showed the number of followers was interesting, so they put it in a bolder font. However, a decade later, Dorsey says that while that part of the profile has remained bold, users need to shift their focus from that number and pay more attention to what they learnt on the platform, count the conversations they had, and to see if their curiosity was addressed.

Finally, the meetup ended with the most-asked question and the most-popular demand for Twitter — when are we getting the edit feature?

Well, in simple words, it’s not happening. Jack Dorsey said, “sometimes we can’t focus on what people are asking and we have to see the use case scenario of a feature”. He said that while many people want to correct things like spelling mistakes and typos in their tweets with the feature, some people could also really misuse it.

As an example, he pointed out that if were to retweet a post that you agreed with, and the creator of that post changed it to the opposite of what it originally said, you could be seen as agreeing with something you never expected to agree with. The tone of the conversation changes.

Side Note: If you are a fan of the book Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari, you should probably tweet Jack Dorsey, because he couldn’t stop talking about the book today.

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