Twitter's Jack Dorsey who has donated $1B to coronavirus aid once lost job at his own co for going to yoga class
Dorsey has always made headlines for all wrong reasons, including hate speech in India and lack of sensitivity towards Rohingyas
Co-founder of Twitter Jack Dorsey says that he plans to donate $1 billion to relief programmes associated with the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). The thing is, while this time Dorsey has made the headlines for a good reason, that hasn't always been the case.
Dorsey, 43, is an American computer programmer and internet entrepreneur who is the co-founder and CEO of Twitter, and the founder and CEO of Square, a mobile payments company. He recently took to Twitter to announce, “I’m moving $1B of my Square equity (~28% of my wealth) to #startsmall LLC to fund global COVID-19 relief. After we disarm this pandemic, the focus will shift to girl’s health and education, and UBI. It will operate transparently...”
He continues on the same thread saying, “Why now? The needs are increasingly urgent, and I want to see the impact in my lifetime. I hope this inspires others to do something similar. Life is too short, so let’s do everything we can today to help people now.”
Dorsey, however, has a reputation for making the headlines for all the wrong reasons and is known for his controversial image.
In 2006, Dorsey along with Noah Glass, Biz Stone and Evan Williams launched the microblogging social networking service. He was the CEO of the company until 2008, when he was dismissed from the position for multiple reasons, including being incapable of solving persistent outage issue that was causing the service to crash routinely, the lack of any type of backup for Twitter, and his tendency to leave work early to attend fashion design and yoga classes.
He remained as the chairman of the board and in 2015 he returned to his position of CEO of Twitter again.
In 2018, Dorsey was accused of being “politically tone-deaf” for “failing to address the plight of the Rohingya, a mainly Muslim group that has been killed and raped in what human rights organizations have called ethnic cleansing”, while he was on a personal trip to Myanmar, according to CNET. He was called out after posting several pictures of him in Myanmar on Twitter.
He said, “Twitter has been working to combat violent extremism and hate on the social network” and he continued, clarifying, “I didn't have any conversations with the government or non-governmental organizations while I was in Myanmar.”
Dorsey was accused of hate-mongering in November 2018, after he visited India. He had allegedly uploaded a picture on Twitter that read “Smash Brahminical patriarchy” that led to an uproar on Twitter, enraging Hindu nationalists.
According to CNN, Dorsey was dragged into a “hugely sensitive issue about power structures in Indian society.” A Twitter spokeswoman told CNN that the poster was a gift to Dorsey by a Dalit woman who participated in a round-table discussion. "The sentiments expressed on the poster do not reflect the views of Twitter as a company or Jack as the CEO, and we regret that this picture has detracted from an otherwise insightful trip to India," she said.
In 2019, Dorsey took a shot at Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of the Facebook company. Facebook was in a long controversial battle regarding political campaigns. Dorsey tweeted, “These challenges will affect ALL internet communication, not just political ads. Best to focus our efforts on the root problems, without the additional burden and complexity taking money brings. Trying to fix both means fixing neither well, and harms our credibility.”
He continued, “For instance, it‘s not credible for us to say: 'We’re working hard to stop people from gaming our systems to spread misleading info, but if someone pays us to target and force people to see their political ad…well...they can say whatever they want!”
According to Business Insider, Dorsey was calling Zuckerberg out on his speech regarding his decision to not censor political advertisement at Georgetown University in 2019.
In 2019, President Donald Trump accused Dorsey and Twitter of "discriminatory" behavior toward conservative users, according to CNN.
They set up a meeting to discuss this matter among other relevant topics. In a statement, a Twitter spokesperson said, "Jack had a constructive meeting with the President of the United States today at the president's invitation. They discussed Twitter's commitment to protecting the health of the public conversation ahead of the 2020 U.S. elections and efforts underway to respond to the opioid crisis."
These controversies might be taking a toll on Dorsey’s career.
This year, activist investor Elliott Management Corp., reportedly said that they wanted Dorsey out as head of Twitter. The Elliott Management Corp. has built up a $1 billion stake in the social-media company.
According to Bloomberg, “The New York-based firm has nominated four directors to Twitter’s board, said the people, who asked to not be identified because the matter isn’t public.” Nothing further has been said about this decision yet, however, according to The Verge, “Dorsey’s board has given him aggressive new goals: growing its user base by at least 20 percent this year, accelerating revenue growth, and gaining market share as a digital advertiser.”