A confident, assured Jack Dorsey took the stage of Twitter’s annual developer conference in San Francisco and began his new reign with an apology. Two weeks into his reappointment as CEO, Dorsey used the opportunity to try to “reboot” relations with tech community.
“I come to you today to apologise for our confusion,” he said, in his first big speech since his appointment last month. “Somewhere along the line our relationship with developers got complicated, confusing and unpredictable,” he told the Flight event at San Francisco’s Bill Graham Auditorium. “That culminated in what [entrepreneur and writer] Anil Dash named ‘the matrix of doom’ ... We want to reset our relationship and make sure that we are learning, listening and that we are rebooting.”
When Twitter began in 2006, it encouraged third-party developers to build around the service, but as Twitter grew it began to restrict or block services that it saw as rivals, including Instagram and Meerkat. It also moved to limit access to authentication and data, and set design limitations, aggravating developers who felt they had contributed to Twitter’s growth.
Dorsey was reappointed CEO on 5 October, and a week later announced that 8% of the company, or 336 people, were to lose their jobs – including engineers. The cuts were seen as a signal to investors that Dorsey is prepared to force through tough decisions, refocusing the company’s direction and strategy.
“Twitter stands for freedom of expression, and will not rest until that is recognised as a fundamental human right. We speak truth to power, and we see that every day around the world – most recently with #blacklivesmatter,” he said.
“We want an open dialogue so that we can make sure we are all serving you in the best way. We’ll continue to empower organisations that bring more truth to the public – like Politwoops [a service which makes deleted tweets by politicians accessible]. This is what makes Twitter great – we need to listen and have that conversation with you. That starts today.”
Dorsey seemed to indicate that Twitter would reopen Politwoops, a network of 30 sites around the world, which it controversially closed in the US in June and in other countries in August by limiting their access to Twitter’s data.
“This statement seems to indicate a possible change in Twitter’s position on Politwoops,” commented Arjan El Fassed, director of Open State Foundation, the organization behind Politwoops. “We look forward to reaching out to Twitter and restore access to Twitter’s API again soon so that we can continue to enable the public to hold elected public officials accountable for their public statements.”
Twitter announced a string of new features at Flight, including a new feature that allow all users to devise and publish their own polls in their feeds. It is also updating the Twitter client for Mac, making various improvements to embedded tweets including launch gin Curator, a tool that compiles tweets into stories, and added three new Star Wars emojis: a tie fighter, millennium falcon and an X wing.
This article was written by Jemima Kiss in San Francisco, for theguardian.com on Wednesday 21st October 2015 19.53 Europe/Londonguardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010