This week Jack Dorsey resigned as CEO of Twitter. Jack founded Twitter and guided it pretty well over the years.
I’ve used Twitter for more than 10 years. Twitter has been a fantastic social network. In my opinion, it’s the best place to learn online. No matter what you’re passionate about, you can find smart, funny people who care about the same topics you do.
Censorship has always been significantly lighter on Twitter compared to sites like Facebook and YouTube. Jack always seemed to resist attempts to crack down on speech.
Twitter stands for freedom of expression. We stand for speaking truth to power. And we stand for empowering dialogue.
— jack⚡️ (@jack) October 5, 2015
Jack took a lot of heat from people who thought he was behind Twitter’s censorship decisions, but I think it’s pretty clear that he was actually fighting a silent war against censorship at Twitter.
One of my favorite Twitter users, Nic Carter of Castle Rock Ventures, summed it up well:
Jack’s departure will make it clear that he was the last bulwark against much more aggressive censorship at Twitter. Jack deserves the break, but I don’t believe it will be positive for the platform.
— nic carter (🎄, 🎄) (@nic__carter) November 29, 2021
For comparison, here’s a quote from Twitter’s new CEO, Parag Agrawal. He was speaking with MIT Technology Review and answering a question about balancing safety and the first amendment.
Our role is not to be bound by the First Amendment, but our role is to serve a healthy public conversation and our moves are reflective of things that we believe lead to a healthier public conversation. The kinds of things that we do about this is, focus less on thinking about free speech, but thinking about how the times have changed.
I’m pretty sure now that Jack is gone, Twitter will start to bleed users. Just since Jack left earlier this week, Twitter has already instituted a new image policy that will lead to more censorship and bans, and initiated a huge ban campaign.
Rise of New Media
Big tech is giving new platforms such a huge advantage right now. Take Substack, for instance. Substack is a site that lets anyone easily publish a newsletter.
Almost every person I used to follow on Twitter who got banned now has a Substack. And they have anywhere from tens to hundreds of thousands of subscribers. So far, Substack has stood strong on free speech, and I think if it continues to do so, it will be an absolutely massive company.
In the end, free speech wins. On a censorship-heavy platform, everyone is self-censoring all the time for fear of being banned. That makes for very dull conversations.
Take a look at Rumble, the rising YouTube competitor that is preparing to go public at a $2.1 billion valuation via SPAC (ticker: CFVI).
I’ve actually watched quite a few things on Rumble, and I like the service. For example, last month Senator Ron Johnson ran a livestream conference on Rumble and it got more than 600,000 views. The topic was “hot,” as it involved vaccine injuries. And predictably, YouTube deleted the video and suspended Senator Johnson’s account.
As I said, this is a tremendous opportunity for new, free speech-minded companies. There will be some truly amazing investment returns made in this space over the next five to 10 years, and I hope to get in on a few of them.
Know of any up-and-coming indie media companies? Let us know about them in the comments.