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Dorsey speaks out on Twitter Files; Twitter plans to force personalised ads

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Twitter’s co-founder and former CEO, Jack Dorsey has finally spoken out on the ‘Twitter Files’ stating that he believes that the company doesn’t have anything to hide and that it didn’t have any “ill intent or hidden agendas”. Dorsey is also funding something he calls “open internet development” starting with $1 million per year to Signal. 

The conversation started off with a Twitter threat but quickly transitioned to a full-blown blog post where he spoke out against the harassment the Twitter staff and his former colleagues are facing because of the way files were disclosed. 

The files, as they were released suggest that Twitter’s old management worked in tandem with the government to silence users on the platform about things like Donald Trump’s removal after the January 6 riots, how the site dealt with the news around Hunter Biden’s laptop and moderation blocklists. 

They were released in five selective documents which included internal documents, emails and Slack messages around the aforementioned subjects. Elon Musk has now spent over a week talking about these and it doesn’t exactly throw the best light on the older management at Twitter. 

While Dorsey seems to agree that mistakes were made, he believes that “everyone acted according to the best information” available at the moment. He’s also unhappy about how the so-called files were only given to specific journalists, wishing that the files got “many more eyes and interpretations to consider”. 

Additionally, the files have caused damage beyond Twitter’s management as well. The Verge reports a few instances where incomplete censoring leaked contact information for politicians, Twitter employees and even Dorsey himself.

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Twitter’s risky ad move

After receiving a fair bit of controversy and a very rocky launch, Twitter Blue relaunched this Monday claiming 50% fewer ads for subscribers as well. This is going to be something of a problem as that’d mean $6 less in ad revenue per user per month to the company according to internal estimates as reported by Casey Newton and Zoe Schiffer

With Musk’s increasing eagerness to increase Twitter’s subscription revenue to nearly half the overall company income, and the fact that the company has been forced to offer huge discounts to advertisers to stay on the platform, this becomes a bit of a problem. 

Platformer reports that Twitter execs already have the solution — forcing users to opt-in to personalised ads to continue using the platform. This means more data for that users now have to share with advertisers, including locations and phone numbers for targeted ads. 

Photo by Tada Images/Shuterstock.com
Photo by Tada Images/Shuterstock.com

People familiar with the plans told Platformer that the update will be rolled out to about 1% of American users to see their response, before being applied to all Twitter accounts. 

The company is planning to show a full-screen notification that can’t be dismissed until the user agrees to share the data, with no way to go back, which wouldn’t sit well with EU regulations, where users have the legal right to withdraw data-sharing permissions any time.

One plan being considered however is the option to opt out only if the user is subscribed to Twitter Blue. This would then be in direct violation of Apple’s rules that prohibit apps from forcing users to choose between paying for a subscription or advertiser tracking. 

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