Mar 6, 2020 - Technology

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey rethinks Africa plan amid coronavirus outbreak

Photo: Victor Boyko/Getty Images for Chrome Hearts

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey said at a Morgan Stanley conference in San Francisco Thursday that he was re-evaluating his plan to spend several months in Africa this year.

Between the lines: Dorsey specifically blamed the ongoing coronavirus outbreak, though his decision also comes as Twitter struggles with tough content and business issues and as an activist investor, Elliott Management, is seeking his ouster.

Of note: Bloomberg reporter Kurt Wagner noted that despite being interviewed on stage for 40 minutes, Dorsey was not asked a direct question about Elliott's move to have him replaced as CEO.

  • Still, many of Dorsey's comments seemed aimed at addressing criticisms lobbed by Elliott and others.

What he said:

  • On misinformation: "Misleading information is an entirely new vector. And the challenge here is that the technology to create misleading information content is moving much faster than the technology to detect it."
  • On boosting revenue: "We've been talking about rebuilding our core ad server. We made a ton of progress in 2019 and starting in this year. And we should be complete with the work to rebuild the ad server by the first half of this year."
  • On Twitter's ability to innovate: "We get a lot of critique about how the pace of development at Twitter is slow. And I think the expectation is that more changes on the surface. But the most impactful changes are the things that happen under the surface."

The bottom line: Dorsey may not have addressed Elliott by name, but he was speaking to its attack on his leadership.

Go deeper

Jack Dorsey to remain as Twitter CEO after deal with Elliott Management and Silver Lake

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey. Photo: David Becker/Getty Images

Twitter announced Monday that it struck a deal with investment firms Silver Lake and Elliott Management that will allow CEO Jack Dorsey to remain in his position.

Between the lines, via Axios' Dan Primack: With the agreement, activist investor Elliott may get what it wants in terms of a higher short-term share price, but it does nothing to satisfy its original complaint about Twitter needing a full-time CEO.

Twitter tests disappearing tweets in Brazil

Photo: Avishek Das/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

In Brazil, Twitter is testing tweets that disappear after 24 hours, AP reports.

The state of play: The company says the ephemeral tweets — "fleets" — are designed to allay the concerns of new users who might be turned off by the public and permanent nature of normal tweets.

Twitter cracks down on coronavirus misinformation from Giuliani, Bolsonaro

Photo: Saul Martinez/Getty Images

It's notable that Twitter, like other social networks, has announced stricter rules on virus-related misinformation than other types of false posts. Even more notable, though, is that Twitter has actually enforced its rules against prominent accounts in recent days.

Why it matters: Twitter has been criticized for being lax to enforce its rules, particularly against well-known politicians and celebrities.