Hundreds of Twitter employees call for Trump to be banned

Technology

More than 300 Twitter employees have signed an internal petition calling for President Donald Trump to be permanently banned from the platform following a raid on the US Capitol on January 6th. Roughly an hour and a half after we published this story, Twitter apparently agreed — President Donald Trump has been permanently banned from Twitter.

The letter said that the employees are “disturbed” by the attack and that Twitter must “permanently suspend” Trump because of his involvement, according to a copy of the letter seen by The Verge. The Washington Post first reported on the letter’s circulation.

“We must examine Twitter’s complicity in what President-Elect Biden has rightly termed insurrection. Those acts jeopardize the wellbeing of the United States, our company, and our employees,” they wrote.

The letter writers also call for Twitter to “provide a clear account” of the company’s decision to temporarily suspend Trump’s account and to investigate “Twitter’s role in today’s insurrection.”

“We must learn from our mistakes in order to avoid causing future harm,” they wrote.

The letter has been signed by more than 300 people over the last two days, according to a person familiar with its circulation.

The pushback inside Twitter follows stronger action from Facebook, which suspended Trump indefinitely on Thursday. Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and other platforms began removing posts or restricting his account on Wednesday after the president posted a video praising the mob that attacked the Capitol. The Alphabet Workers Union has also called on YouTube to ban Trump.

Twitter employees have been pushing back against leadership in company-wide Slack rooms as well. “I feel like we’ve bent over backwards to craft policies to allow Trump to stay up and to say what he has,” one employee wrote.

“This conversation has focused on how rigorously we have enforced our existing policies … Do we consider that there may be problems with our policies themselves?” wrote another.

On Thursday, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey sent a message to staff saying that the company’s actions around Trump were important for establishing trust.

“It’s important we follow a clear and public rule set that can endure beyond any one moment,” Dorsey wrote. “Why? In order to earn trust. I know it may not feel that way right now.”

Dorsey also argued that it was up to elected leaders to repair the damage from Wednesday’s attack. “We aren’t the government,” he said. “Our elected officials must do the work to right this and bring the country together. Our role is around the integrity of the conversation of that work, and doing everything we can to promote healthy discourse, knowing it’s not always going to be accepted in the short term. But it will be over the long term. I’m certain of that.”

Dorsey said that Twitter had drawn “a very clear line in the sand” by saying it would permanently suspend Trump if he further violated the platform’s rules. “If that line is crossed, we will do what we said we are going to do,” he wrote.

During a company all-hands meeting on Friday, employees were told there would be a “retrospective” on the company’s recent policy decisions, according to screenshots of a Slack conversation seen by The Verge. Employees were also urged not to leak more information to the media.

In a statement emailed to The Verge, a Twitter spokesperson said: “Twitter encourages an open dialogue between our leadership and employees, and we welcome our employees to express their thoughts and concerns in whichever manner feels right to them.”