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Photo: David Becker/Getty Images

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey gives himself a "C" grade for taking "responsibility," which was one of the most specific answers he gave during a live Twitter Q&A with journalist Kara Swisher on Tuesday.

Why it matters: Twitter remains an obsession for many journalists and one resident of 1600 Pennsylvania Ave., but many users have grown deeply unhappy with the prevalence of harassment and abuse in many conversations, along with the company's seemingly inconsistent enforcement of its own community rules.

Highlights from Dorsey's discussion with Swisher:

  • Twitter's top priorities: "In the past I think we were trying to do too much. We’re better at prioritizing by impact now. Believe the #1 thing we should focus on is someone's physical safety first. ... Doxxing is a good example which threatens physical safety. So does coordinate harassment campaigns."
  • Users leaving Twitter: "I want people to walk away from Twitter feeling like they learned something and feeling empowered to some degree. It depresses me when that’s not the general vibe, and inspires me to figure it out. ... I also don’t feel good about how Twitter tends to incentivize outrage, fast takes, short-term thinking, echo chambers, and fragmented conversation."
  • Suspending President Trump or other newsworthy public figures: "We hold all accounts to the same terms of service. The most controversial aspect of our TOS is the newsworthy/public interest clause, the 'protection' you mention. That doesn't extend to all public figures by default, but does speak to global leaders and seeing how they think. ... I don't believe our service or business is dependent on any one account or person."
  • On 2016 rumors of selling the company: "We ultimately decided we were better off independent. And I'm happy we did. We've made a lot of progress since that point. And we got a lot more focused. Definitely love the idea of opening more to 3rd parties. Not sure what that looks like yet. Twitter is close to a protocol."
  • On not having a No. 2 executive at Twitter: "I think it's better to spread that responsibility across multiple people. It creates less dependencies and the company gets more options around future leadership."

Yes, but: More than anything, Dorsey and Swisher's conversation highlighted how poorly suited Twitter's design is to this type of interaction.

  • More than once, Swisher had to create new threads, and observers' ability to interrupt the conversation made it even harder to follow their back-and-forth.
  • Recode's Kurt Wagner dives deeper into this.

Go deeper

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Prior coronavirus infections may not protect well against Omicron

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

New data from South Africa suggests the Omicron variant spreads more than twice as quickly as the Delta variant, and that immunity from prior infection doesn't appear to protect a person very well against Omicron variant.

Why it matters: The findings are extremely preliminary, and there are still many open questions about how well vaccines work against the variant. But these initial breadcrumbs of data are helping the world begin to understand what it's up against.

Bryan Walsh, author of Future
2 hours ago - Technology

AI could end foreign-language subtitles

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

AI companies are developing methods to translate and synthesize voices in ads, movies and TV.

Why it matters: The advances in voice synthesis could help fix bad movie dubbing — and they come as international content is becoming increasingly important to studios and streaming platforms as part of the globalization of entertainment.

Bryan Walsh, author of Future
Updated 11 hours ago - Technology

A dark view of the future of autonomous weapons

A still from the video "If Human: Kill ( )." Image: Future of Life Institute

A new short film warns of the coming risks posed by the development and proliferation of lethal autonomous weapons.

Why it matters: Drones with the ability to autonomously target and kill without the assistance of a human operator are reportedly already being used on battlefields, and time is running out to craft a global ban of what could be a destabilizing and terrifying new class of weapon.