Just what, exactly, did they expect?
On Tuesday, TED Talk hosted a conversation with Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey regarding “concerns and opportunities for Twitter’s future” and invited those following along at home to participate. Specifically, TED Talk organizers asked people to tweet questions using the hashtag #AskJackAtTED and promised that some of those questions would be projected onto a giant screen behind the CEO during the event.
This being Twitter, the trolls — both sincere and otherwise — quickly pounced, reportedly forcing the social-media mavens at TED Talk to pull the proverbial plug on the ill-conceived experiment.
While the stream of the talk has, at the time of this writing, yet to be published, photos from the event give us a pretty good idea as to the types of tweets that ended up displayed behind the CEO’s head.
A photo shared by TED Talks’ Twitter account, shortly after it tweeted a line from Dorsey saying the company’s “second goal is incentivizing healthy conversation,” set the tone.
“Now that your platform has played a significant role in the end of humankind, what’s your next step?…” read the cutting question.
“You just said your metrics create toxicity,” read another Tweet displayed behind Dorsey. “So… you’re CEO. Why not change them right now?”
These were far from the only tweets projected on stage that commented on Twitter’s problems with toxic content.
“How do you feel about giving a platform to literal Nazis,” asked another.
In classic Twitter style, someone — it’s unclear who exactly — with TED Talks or Twitter allegedly decided after the fact that maybe projecting poorly curated tweets behind the CEO wasn’t such a good idea. You know, because of the optics. And so they reportedly pulled the stream down.
“They took the
#AskJackatTED stream off the screen at TED because the tweets got really bad, which, you know, could have been a point of discussion in and of itself,” tweeted Erica Joy, an engineering manager at Microsoft.
They took the #AskJackatTED stream off the screen at TED because the tweets got really bad, which, you know, could have been a point of discussion in and of itself. (The interview is over now btw.)
— EricaJoy (@EricaJoy) April 16, 2019
Though the screen was reportedly pulled down, one Twitter user managed to slide in a hard-hitting question just in time: “Jack, who is Bam Bam,” asked the (now apparently deleted) tweet.
We’re still waiting for our answer, Jack. In the meantime, however, could you please do something about the Nazis?