Twitter and Square CEO Jack Dorsey has decided to leave the CEO role at Twitter again. The controversial co-founder and chief will remain the chief executive at payments firm Square and board member until the next shareholder meeting around May 2022.
In a statement posted (naturally) on Twitter, Dorsey said the notion of a company remaining “founder-led” could be “severely limiting.” He said his trust in his replacement—current CTO Parag Agrawal—”is bone deep” and that his departure from the board next year would give Agrawal “the space he needs to lead.”
not sure anyone has heard but,
I resigned from Twitter pic.twitter.com/G5tUkSSxkl
— jack⚡️ (@jack) November 29, 2021
Dorsey is a strong BTC proponent, and his Twitter bio is a one-word hashtag: “#bitcoin”. Square subsidiary Square Crypto is a founding member of COPA, the “open patent alliance” that recently launched a lawsuit against Dr. Craig Wright challenging his copyright claim to the 2008 Bitcoin white paper.
Twitter has so far been unwelcoming (or at least indifferent) to any project challenging BTC for the Bitcoin name. It favors certain digital assets (mainly BTC and Tether) by auto-generating emojis in hashtags whenever a user refers to them.
The company went so far as to delete Dr. Wright’s entire Twitter “@proffaustus” account in March 2019, much to the disappointment of fans and trolls alike. Though Wright was accused of “rage-quitting” Twitter at the time, he eventually revealed it to be the company’s decision. The ban also removed the ability to search and read Dr. Wright’s past musings (at least, the ones that hadn’t already been screenshot and widely shared). Twitter has since allowed someone else to take the “@proffaustus” account.
Writing has been on the wall (in 280 characters or less) for Dorsey for a while
Although Dorsey is officially resigning, it’s no secret that some of Twitter’s largest investors have wished to replace him as CEO for some time. He narrowly avoided being replaced in March 2020 by investors Elliot Management and Silver Lake, reportedly after he decided to relocate to Africa to avoid the COVID-19 situation. The investors were reportedly frustrated with Dorsey splitting his attention between Twitter and Square—Dorsey was the only person to hold the CEO position at two public companies with market valuations of over US$5 billion.
He managed to stay in the CEO role at Twitter only after reaching an agreement that saw Elliot and Silver Lake take seats on the company’s board. US$1 billion in new investment from Silver Lake and a $2 billion share buyback program that would likely consolidate more power in large investors’ hands. Dorsey reportedly had support from Elon Musk and Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin to remain as CEO.
Dorsey co-founded Twitter in 2006 and has already been ousted from the CEO role once, in 2008, before returning to the job in 2015. Notably, reports said the excessive time he spent on non-Twitter interests like yoga and fashion design caused the first demotion. He remained a Twitter board member during his non-CEO years, as Twitter went from being a niche service for tech enthusiasts to a household name by the time he returned.
However, Twitter had actually begun to decline by the time Dorsey returned as chief executive. He introduced changes to broaden its appeal, such as doubling each tweet’s character limit and excluding attachments and links from the count. This saw Twitter gain popularity as a news and media sharing platform, becoming arguably the world’s most popular place to share information.
The platform has also begun flagging certain tweets for “misinformation” on specific political and health issues, most prominently the COVID-19 pandemic and the 2020 U.S. presidential election. It is also known to “shadowban” accounts that express opinions unpopular with management, leaving their posts visible but unseen by many, including followers. Some users have complained of follower numbers mysteriously and suddenly falling by thousands for no apparent reason or repeatedly following the same account.
Given the current unstable socio-political climate in countries worldwide, this situation is unlikely to change with a new CEO. If anything, it could get worse—Dorsey at times, would at least pay lip service to “free speech” and “decentralization.” He has remained somewhat consistent on the latter of these two issues, if only in the often-misguided digital asset sense. He recently announced Square was considering going into the BTC mining business.
BSV fans won’t necessarily mourn Dorsey’s departure from the company, but whether the platform will become friendlier to the real and original Bitcoin is unknown. Earlier this month, it announced it was forming a new “Twitter Crypto” team led by Tess Rinearson and working under (then) CTO Agrawal to focus on “all things blockchain and web3.”
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