In November 2019, Twitter CEO Jack Patrick Dorsey tweeted at Addis Ababa Airport in Ethiopia that he will move to “Africa” Up to 6 months in 2020. His high-profile one-month trip to the African continent, visiting Nigeria, Ghana, South Africa and Ethiopia, has ended, and billionaires are full of emotion. “Africa will define the future (especially Bitcoin!)” he wrote. Covid will hinder his journey, although in 2020 he does have time to spend time with Jay-Z in Hampton, Hawaii and on a yacht. According to reports, in January 2021, he is considering whether to spend his holiday in French Polynesia Donald Trump was banned from using Twitter. Then, two years and two days after he announced that he would be his savior came to Africa for the second time, Dorsey Resign as CEO. We never know what he might be referring to in “Africa”. We do know that his arrogance and failure in three of the four countries he initially visited will have a major impact on his legacy on the African continent.
In the West, Twitter during Dorsey’s reign from 2015 to 2021 usually looks like an acid, hateful, and raging trash can fire. But what Westerners get is the platinum version of Twitter. This is the version produced by those who take citizenship issues seriously, because these issues are also their problems. Misinformation, hate speech, and manipulation on the platform are much worse in the corners of my world, and Dorsey’s legacy in Africa is more negligent and hypocritical than his legacy in the Western world.
In April 2021, nearly 15 years after Twitter launched on the African continent, the company announced that it would open its first physical store in Africa, the regional headquarters in Accra, Ghana. “Twitter is now on the African continent,” Dorsey wrote next to Twitter Emoji of the flag of Ghana. However, its existence is fragile. The vast majority of Twitter’s vacancies listed in Accra are in advertising, engineering, and communications. It is not clear how many people Twitter plans to send from its trust and safety or platform integrity teams. In fact, Twitter’s Sub-Saharan Africa policy management team is located in Europe. Just like Google and Facebook before it, it soon became clear that this new development hardly involves helping Africans defend free speech or resist authoritarian governments. Twitter’s African headquarters has nothing to do with Africans. It is actually a colonial outpost, established to ensure that the data and money Twitter extracted from the African continent is maintained. As Twitter is used to spread dissatisfaction around several African countries, the limitations of the office will be tested again and again later this year.
Dorsey particularly sees Nigeria as a convenient relationship. In 2020, many Nigerians praised his tweets, and he called for donations to the state power (#EndSARS) that ended police brutality.But his support for this is not consistent, as it seems to ignore repeated calls from Nigerian journalists, researchers and activists on the same Twitter to mark or ban many people Fraud and misleading claims about #EndSARS And other abuses rampant on the platform. Then, just two months after Twitter opened its African office, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari banned Twitter in the country for four months. This was after the platform deleted a tweet by Buhari that violated the platform’s abusive behavior policy, but a president’s spokesperson was quick to point out that the ban was much more than this tweet. “Nigeria’s social media platform has a series of problems. Misinformation and fake news spread through it have had violent consequences in the real world,” the spokesperson emailed to Bloomberg. “The company has evaded responsibility all the time.” Agreeing with the dictator’s spokesperson is uncomfortable, but he makes sense.
Perhaps in Africa, Dorsey’s Twitter failed the most in Ethiopia. As in Nigeria, the platform finds itself in the dilemma of an authoritarian government that regularly performs internet outages during the escalating civil war. Last month, the platform announced that it would disable its trending feature throughout Ethiopia, ostensibly to quell the threat of harm. “Inciting violence or dehumanizing people is against our rules,” The company explained in a tweet“We hope that this measure will reduce the risk of coordination that may incite violence or cause harm.” This is a strange and backward reasoning.Undoubtedly: Although Dorsey will never admit this explicitly, he deleted the trend section used to be Plead guilty. Twitter realizes that it cannot control the speed at which hateful content is amplified. But it did not admit that the trending algorithm it designed was easily weaponized and made hate speech highly disseminated, or noticed that it deliberately worked to improve the feature, but actually blamed Ethiopians (using the feature as designed). Here, Twitter also borrowed from the script of colonialism: to blame the colonialists for the harm done to Africans.
Twitter’s trend issue has a trend; it is also hurting Kenyans.In my own research with the Mozilla Foundation, I explored how Twitter’s trending algorithm can help allow The false information rental industry is booming In Kenya, for Kenyans The reporter was under attack after wave. When the Pandora document accused the President of Kenya of hiding millions of dollars in offshore accounts, Promoters use Twitter to quell public protestsWhen I reported my findings to Twitter, the best thing the platform did was that it was a typical mole-mouse method. It suspended or deleted a small number of illegal accounts discovered by me and my researchers, but did not Clearly state what, if any, this will help prevent the propaganda from continuing to spread.