On Friday, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey bent over backwards to apologize to far-right activist Candace Owens after a Twitter Moment accurately described her political leanings and she got mad about it.
The Moment in question concerned hip hop mogul Kanye West’s endorsement of Owens, a black activist who recently held a campus event disrupted by Black Lives Matter activists. Owens responded to the BLM protesters by launching into a diatribe about “victim mentality” and accusing them of being “overly privileged Americans” who enjoyed play-acting being the victims of oppression. West took the opportunity last week to endorse Owens as part of a days-long tweetstorm that included effusive praise for President Donald Trump.
The Moment in question was originally titled “Kanye says he likes the way far-right media personality Candace Owens thinks,” something Owens contested in a tweet saying “I’m not far right—I’m free.”
For some reason, Dorsey believed that this was a situation meriting his personal intervention and personally apologized, saying “This was a clear break in our curation process and understanding, and we’re fixing. Thanks for calling out.”
To be clear, Owens has been a guest on conspiracy site InfoWars, rose to prominence on the coattails of notorious misogynist hate mob Gamergate, calls black Democrats literal slaves, and uses the brand name Red Pill Black, a reference to deluded men’s rights activists. If Dorsey doesn’t consider her “far right,” then Dorsey has some categorization problems. (While far right refers to a variety of conservatism that emphasizes extreme nationalism and nativism, and it’s often associated with white supremacy, one does not have to be an avowed neo-Nazi to qualify as far right.) The most charitable thing one could say about Owens’ political beliefs are that they’ve become mainstream in the Republican Party, which is not at all reassuring.
Worse, the far-right crowd has been some of the most unpleasant people on Twitter’s platform for years, helped along by the platform’s longstanding problem of standing around flailing their arms in the face of widespread user harassment.
Dorsey has promised in recent months to fix the trolling problem—something he has repeatedly promised to do so in the past. But if he’s getting rolled by InfoWars contributors, there’s not much of a reason to have faith in his follow through this time either.