Need to identify intent behind fake news: Twitter CEO

Need to identify intent behind fake news: Twitter CEO

Twitter CEO and co-founder Jack Dorsey poses for photos with IIT Delhi students, in New Delhi, Monday, Nov 12, 2018. (PTI Photo/Vijay Verma)

Questions on fake news, artificial intelligence and social media addiction came flying at Twitter co-founder and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Jack Dorsey during his interaction with Indian Institute of Technology Delhi students.

Dorsey, on his maiden India visit, defended Twitter and said, “We are scoping this problem (fake news) as tightly as possible. Our job is to make sure we are identifying misinformation. It is the context of the information, the intent behind the information.

“If the intention is to mislead, we need to understand and pick out the misinformation and our job is to ensure it doesn’t spread.”The long-felt need for an edit button to change tweets has been articulated for years. Dorsey said the company had been considering this for quite some time and it will be introduced at the right time.

Read also: Nationalism drive behind spread of fake news in India: BBC research

Twitter has come under pressure to curtail the spread of fake news, now a global problem with a distinct political and radical undercurrent.

Social media addiction, in Twitter’s context, has often been fixated with increasing the follower base. Dorsey admitted that when the platform was founded 12 years ago, Twitter had indeed stressed on follower counts. But that has changed now, he said. “The focus, instead, should be on the quality of conversation.”

Dorsey’s visit coincided with a Twitter India survey where young people were asked what they felt was the power of turning 18 years old. An overwhelming 94% said they would vote in the upcoming elections. A high 87% were convinced that it would make them a responsible citizen. The survey kickstarted a social initiative called #PowerOf18 aimed at encouraging the youth of India to contribute to public debate and participate in civic engagement in the election season.

Rahul meets Dorsey

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey met Congress president Rahul Gandhi and discussed various steps the micro-blogging site has taken to tackle the fake news menace.

Dorsey is on his maiden visit to India had has travelled to Jaipur and has also met the Dalai Lama.

“Jack Dorsey, the co-founder and CEO of Twitter dropped in to chat this morning,” Rahul tweeted.

“Twitter has grown into the most dominant 'conversations' platform globally. Jack explained some of the steps being taken to keep those conversations healthy & to tackle the menace of fake news,” Rahul said.

Rahul also posted pictures of him admiring the tattoo on Dorsey's arm that resembled the integral symbol.

Dorsey also met former Union minister Shashi Tharoor, one of the earliest politician-user of the micro-blogging site.

“His invention has changed so much in the world, including our political discourse,” Tharoor said.

Dorsey arrived in India on November 10 and was slated to meet IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad.

Dorsey has posted pictures of his Jaipur visit and his meeting with the Dalai Lama on his Twitter handle.

“Thank you @DalaiLama. You’re an amazing teacher. Also: thank you for not actually pulling out my nose ring, despite a lot of painful effort,” he said.

Dorsey also participated in a townhall event at IIT-Delhi organised by the BBC.