“Twitter has said Donald Trump’s aggressive tweets attacking North Korea do not break its rules despite potentially constituting threatening behavior… saying that his tweets are allowed because they are ‘newsworthy’ and ‘in the public interest.’”—The Telegraph, 9/26/17
Hi there folks,
I’m Jack Dorsey, CEO of Twitter. And it’s about time that I addressed the elephant in the room.
Over the past few months, many users have raised complaints about a specific Twitter feed which has been a near-constant source of misinformation, divisiveness, and fear–namely, the Twitter feed of the odious and vile-minded Gríma Wormtongue from Lord of the Rings.
You know, this guy:
Folks, I realize that this may be a controversial decision, but I must now announce that, although Wormtongue is a poison-mouthed lie-smith whose noxious whispers corrupt the mind and heart of our once-noble King Théoden of Rohan, I cannot in good conscience censor his feed.
He’s just too dang newsworthy.
Furthermore, I want you all to know, right now, that this is NOT about the billions of dollars that Wormtongue continuously generates for my company.
This is for the public good.
Now, I realize that many of you are unhappy with the way Wormtongue manages his personal Twitter feed. Heck, I’ve got a few gripes of my own. And every day Twitter receives hundreds of emails suggesting that, quote, “Wormtongue is a fountain of chicanery” or that “Wormtongue’s tweets needlessly spread Rohan’s forces thin when they could, instead, become a mote in the Eye of Sauron.”
And just yesterday, a young Rohan nobleman by the name of Éomer the Éadig (Third Marshal of the Riddermark) kindly informed me that “Wormtongue taints the mind of the King. His toxic words have turned Théoden’s golden hair into a vile ghost-white. And his poison tongue clouds the King’s eyes–what was once blue is now a milky, sightless void.”
And obviously, I recognize that Wormtongue’s tweets may have a few “downsides.” But (simply put) the man is just too darn influential and newsworthy not to have an uncensored forum where he can spew an unadulterated stream of toxic bile directly into the minds of millions.
I repeat, this is NOT because our stock rises ten points every time he goes viral. No. What we’re essentially saying is that Gríma is so famous that normal rules don’t apply to him.
And that that’s a good thing.
I mean, think about it folks. Isn’t it in the public’s better interest to be informed? This man is one of the most powerful people in Rohan. And when he tweets out at three in the morning that Gandalf the White (Wielder of the Flame of Anor) is a fool and traitor who merits death not the ear the king, don’t people deserve to hear that? Even if it spreads misinformation solely for his own personal betterment?
Or, for example, when he makes the following tweet, doesn’t it only seem fair that all of Middle-earth is able to read it and decide for themselves whether or not Wormtongue is using his serpent mouth to fill our minds and hearts with bitter, loathsome venom:
Would I tweet something like that? Gosh no. And if a normal Twitter user tweeted something like that, would I immediately have their tweet removed for inciting violence and for condoning intolerant pro-Sauron ideologies? Probably. And is it actually really, really weird that my company is solely allowed to determine who has the right to unfiltered speech, while simultaneously censoring millions for lesser offenses?
But to be blunt, we NEED a world where a passionate, hard-working man like Gríma Wormtongue is able to convey his opinions immediately and in a consequence-free environment. Otherwise, we’d be no better than the traitor Saruman who was swayed from the path of goodness after succumbing to the temptation of Sauron’s dark magic Palantíri seeing-stones.
Saruman compromised his core values for personal gain.
And that’s just not the kind of thing that Twitter does.