When Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey abruptly announced last year that his employees could work remotely “forever,” the move was hailed as no less than “the end of the office as we know it.”
A year later, the mythos of the digital workplace persists. Companies now insist that the pandemic has heralded in a new, if inevitable, age of work – one in which technology is enabling “workforce liberation,” as one CEO wrote in March. “Once a futuristic vision,” Boston Consulting Group has pronounced, “the bionic company is here.”
The new cyborg workplace promised by corporate America is placeless; perfectly digitized and perfectly efficient. Its workers have been freed from the old shackles of the office. For years, business executives have pushed to better integrate technologies like artificial intelligence in the workplace, arguing that greater employee autonomy will follow. The pandemic, they claim, has proved this to be true. “We are seeing a human transformation right before our eyes,” Dell’s Chief Operating Officer Jeff Clarke told investors last year. Under this model, worker productivity has reached “an all-time high,” he said.
Don’t fall for this charade. A year into the pandemic, it is more clear than ever that Zoom calls and “people analytics” are no antidote to the woes of the office. Automation and new technologies have never liberated the workplace; they aren’t doing so now, either.
Instead, companies are deploying tech to cement their control over employees. This sort of control is certainly not new. In the early 20th century, Frederick Taylor pioneered a strategy of “scientific management,” which placed workers under close surveillance in a ruthless pursuit of efficiency. But the age-old trend accelerated rapidly when the pandemic forced more than a third of the US labor force to work virtually.
The ideal of a digitized, “flexible” workplace is a familiar one. It draws from techno-utopian thought birthed in Silicon Valley, which in the early days of the internet imagined technology as a democratizing force, a means to secure personal freedom.
“There was a strong sense back then … that wiring the world was good in and of itself,” Chris Hughes, a now-defected Facebook co-founder, told The New Yorker in 2019. It did not take long for this ethos to reach the workplace.
For years, gig platforms like Uber and Instacart have touted their “new model” for work – using the language of liberation to describe a labor model that, in reality, quite closely resembles exploitative practices of prior decades. Uber’s tech might be innovative, but its vision for labor is not.
Uber’s lobbying campaign for Proposition 22 in California, which exempted app-based drivers from being classified as employees, deployed this same techno-utopian language. “We believe a better way to work is possible,” the company wrote to its employees, urging them to vote for the legislation. Ultimately, the ballot item passed, greenlighting an independent contractor system that takes advantage of drivers and is likely to be replicated across the country. The erosion of employee benefits is being dressed up in the language of innovation.
But the behemoth companies that have recently joined in to claim a liberated, office-free workforce were – just a year or so ago – fixated on the physical office.
From luxury offices to digital offices
In 2018, cloud-computing behemoth Salesforce unveiled its new corporate headquarters in downtown San Francisco: a 1,070-foot skyscraper that, to date, stands as the tallest building west of the Mississippi River. The building is decked out with the usual luxuries of tech campuses: lounges, meditation rooms, and a “media center.”
Then, in February, the company bluntly announced that its 9-5 workday was “dead.” Salesforce did not plan to wholly abandon its offices, president Brent Hyder assured employees, but instead hoped to “create the office of the future” – one that hinged on remote work, significantly reducing office use. Its skyscraper, which has indelibly changed the San Francisco skyline, quickly went from crown jewel to disposable commodity.
This about-face is less confounding if workplace technologies are understood to function in much the same way as meticulous office design. As Benjamin Naddaff-Hafrey writes, the utopian office – whether Salesforce’s skyscraper or Epic Systems’ bizarre, fairy-tale headquarters – entices workers to extend their hours, blurring the lines between work and leisure.
A virtual workplace, it turns out, does this better – or, at least, companies like Salesforce are banking on it. Studies have indeed demonstrated that “productivity” increases when employees work remotely, but attribute this effect, in large part, to longer working hours. Perhaps as a result, some studies have found that remote workers report burnout at higher rates than their in-person colleagues.
Companies, of course, could take measures to improve remote conditions by better regulating workers’ hours or easing expectations around productivity. But this is unlikely. For the most part, companies that have decided to adopt a remote or hybrid model havecited increased efficiency as a key reason for doing so.
A new form of employee surveillance
As companies invest in their virtual workplaces, they are at the same time investing in new technologies for worker surveillance. Employee monitoring has a storied history, particularly in the US, but its newfound popularity casts doubt on the “liberation” of employees in the virtual workplace.
One recent survey of 2,000 companies using remote work found a “rapid” uptick in use of such tools. More than three-quarters reported that they conducted employee surveillance. A stunning 57% of those companies said that they had implemented the tools within the last six months.
Driving the trend, the survey found, was fear held by company executives that they had “a lack of control” over their remote business. A majority reported that they “don’t trust” their employees to work without such digital supervision – an anxiety that will likely drive autocratic management practices in the virtual office.
Companies that peddle employee monitoring tools have happily capitalized on that fear, branding themselves as a cornerstone of the future of work. “With more and more employees working outside the office,” writes monitoring company InterGuard, “digital employee monitoring is more important than ever.”
Their tools are far-reaching. Teramind’s live demo of its monitoring platform demonstrates a sophisticated system, one that records keystrokes, sends live “alerts” when employees spend above-average time on social media sites, and ranks workers by their calculated “productivity.” This is our supposedly emancipated workplace.
Yet, remote work – despite all of this – remains popular among workers. And for good reason: The fight for greater flexibility in the workplace, led by people with disabilities and working parents, dates back decades. If there is a grain of truth to companies’ claims of a liberated workforce, it is here. For many, remote work is an important accommodation. It is, maybe, a liberating one.
The issue is that the pivot to the virtual office was not intended as such. The change was forced by the pandemic and, subsequently, driven by the interests of employers – after years of companies refusing to make such changes. As StaffCop Enterprise, another employee monitoring vendor, explains it: “Gone are the days when remote work was only appealing to employees.”
As Marianne Eloise writes, disabled people still need accommodations, within a remote workplace or not. Unsurprisingly, there has been no new rush to provide greater accessibility. And many jobs, while increasingly digitized, cannot be done remotely – a reminder that the companies that claim to provide ubiquitous flexibility are generally doing so only for highly-paid, white-collar employees, widening the cracks of the fissured workplace.
A year of heightened virtual surveillance, amid false claims of freedom, has shattered the ideal of the techno-utopian office. Still, the status quo of the workplace is always under threat. Sometimes, this disruption does come in the form of technology: A ride-hailing app co-op that hopes to topple Uber and Lyft’s empire in New York City, for instance, or a company developing technologies that would aid worker unionization. But this is not innovation on its natural course; it is something we must fight for.
Two entrepreneurs claimed Friday the startup accelerator Y Combinator kicked them out of its program for speaking publicly about misogyny and members’ efforts to circumvent COVID-19 vaccine eligibility requirements.
Biggar said he was expelled for a March tweet in which he claimed two founders posted to internal Y Combinator forums saying they had skipped vaccine queues in Oakland, California, and had shared tips to help other founders also jump spots in line.
Just hours later, Prolific CEO Katia Damer replied to Biggar’s tweet, claiming Y Combinator had kicked her out for speaking about misogyny within the accelerator.
“OK, I’ll come out publicly: 2 weeks ago YC kicked me out as well because I dared to criticise their beloved founders,” Damer said.
“Jessica literally defended a misogynist,” she said, referring to Y Combinator founding partner Jessica Livingston, adding: “I called it out and got expelled from their ‘oh-so-great’ community lmao.”
“YC has systemically disadvantaged female founders for years,” Damer said, claiming Y Combinator’s success stories included “almost exclusively white male founders.”
Y Combinator did not respond to a request for comment on this story.
In September, Y Combinator touted that its Black-, Latinx-, and female-founded portfolio companies had a combined post-money valuation of $23.6 billion – less than 8% of the more than $300 billion combined valuation of its top companies alone.
Uber founder Travis Kalanick once got upset at an employee for asking why the company’s cafeteria no longer served quinoa.
Kalanick, who was Uber’s CEO at the time, was annoyed that the employee would complain about quinoa in the midst of an all-hands meeting instead of focusing on work.
The story lingered for Kalanick, according to an exclusive report by Insider’s Meghan Morris. Now at his $5 billion startup CloudKitchens, the phrase “No Quinoa” is branded on some employees’ T-shirts and laptop stickers, sources told Morris. Some new hires are also told the “No Quinoa” tale as a warning to stay focused on the company’s mission.
The culture at Los Angeles-based CloudKitchens mimics that at Uber during Kalanick’s time at the ride-hailing company. CloudKitchens doesn’t offer many of the posh perks, like laundry service and nap pods, that have become common among other Silicon Valley companies. Kalanick wants employees’ focus to instead remain on company’s core work – a sentiment that is expressed in phrases like “no quinoa.”
CloudKitchens declined to comment on Insider’s investigation.
CloudKitchens, which is backed by Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund, operates as a ghost kitchen company that rents commercial space and turns it into shared kitchens for restaurateurs.
In 2018, Kalanick invested in City Storage Systems, renamed it, and took over as CEO. Since then, it has expanded to at least 29 cities in the US and brought on customers including Chick-fil-A and Wendy’s.
Venture capitalist J.D. Vance has told friends that he will run for retiring Republican Sen. Rob Portman’s Ohio seat in 2022, Axios first reported on Thursday.
Vance, who made a name for himself with his bestselling 2016 memoir “Hillbilly Elegy,” recently met with former President Donald Trump and conservative Silicon Valley billionaire Peter Thiel at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida, Axios reported.
The 36-year-old Marine veteran and Yale Law School graduate was highly critical of Trump before he was elected president.
“I can’t stomach Trump. I think that he’s noxious and is leading the white working class to a very dark place,” Vance told NPR’s Terry Gross before Trump’s win in 2016. He also told conservative commentator Mona Charen, “If Trump wins it would be terrible for the country, but good for book sales.”
As Vance predicted, he became a popular translator of the issues facing the struggling white working-class that helped power Trump’s 2016 presidential bid. Over the last few years, he’s become a loyal Republican.
Vance previously worked for Thiel’s venture capital firm, Mithril Capital. In 2019, he founded his own firm, Narya, which invests in start-ups in under-resourced areas. Thiel and other prominent Silicon Valley figures, including former Google CEO Eric Schmidt and two top Facebook executives, contributed to Vance’s $90 million fund.
Thiel has helped shepherd Vance into politics and donated $10 million to the super PAC Protect Ohio Values, which was set up to back Vance’s Senate bid.
While Vance built his career in finance on support from prominent tech executives, he’s recently taken to condemning the power of “Big Tech” along with other conservatives politicians. He’s called on the Republican Party to remake itself as the champion of the working class and aligned himself with the likes of Fox News’ Tucker Carlson, who he recently argued “is the only powerful figure who consistently challenges elite dogma – on both cultural and economic questions.”
Several other Republicans have already entered the Senate primary, and the race is looking to be one of the most-watched of the cycle.
In February, New York Times reporter Taylor Lorenz made an error that led to over a month of harassment and attacks. The Styles section reporter, whose work focuses on tech and online influencer culture, was listening in on a conversation hosted by popular audio-based social media app Clubhouse – where listeners can hear the participants but can at times not identify the speaker – when she mistakenly thought she heard billionaire tech investor Marc Andreessen use an ableist slur.
The word was actually said by Ben Horowitz, the other cofounder of the venture capital firm Andreeseen Horowitz. But Lorenz posted an accusation against Andreessen before that was clear, and by the time she deleted the tweet and clarified, the damage was done.
An unrelenting harassment campaign aimed at Lorenz from Andreessen and his allies followed. At one point Andreessen joined a Clubhouse room with Holocaust denier Chuck C. Johnson ironically entitled “Taylor Lorenz Fans Only.” With 3.7 million Clubhouse followers, Andreessen’s participation was a magnet for his fans, already primed to dislike Lorenz.
A war on journalism
Andreessen’s investment into Clubhouse led to the app’s $1 billion valuation in January. In addition to investing in Clubhouse, a16z is a primary backer of newsletter service Substack, a new player in media with an eye toward overturning traditional newsrooms and giving journalists the ability to talk directly to their audience.
For Andreessen, a man with a long history of online invention, investment, and influence who jealously guards his image and tightly controls how he’s perceived, reporters like Lorenz represent a threat to his carefully crafted image. So, the billionaire tech investor is using his power to dismiss her reporting and shape public opinion.
By using these tropes and attempting to undermine Lorenz and others, Andreessen is following an established playbook from rich men who want constant public adulation and power but refuse to tolerate criticism or deviation from their preferred narrative. Billionaires using their clout and power to agitate for better coverage in the press is a longstanding practice of the wealthy and powerful. The ultrarich have long meddled with the media and attempted to shape newsrooms to the benefit of the elite.
In the modern era there have been figures who push their agenda through a direct media empire, like Rupert Murdoch – owner of News Corp – has made billions pushing the English-speaking world to the right through a number of outlets. Or magnates from other industries getting into media to project their worldview and protect their business interests, like the late casino magnate Sheldon Adelson, who bought the Las Vegas Review Journal in 2015.
Today this age-old tactic has come to Silicon Valley. After over a decade of largely friendly and positive coverage from the tech press, a shift in how the industry is reported on has generated a backlash from company boardrooms and venture capital firms. In one of the most notorious cases, financier Peter Thiel’s successful vendetta against the website Gawker, the site was shuttered. Elon Musk, the founder of Tesla, regularly attacks journalists that don’t toe the line. Amazon sends demands to reporters that they include PR lines in investigative articles on warehouse conditions.
Beyond just attacking, Silicon Valley’s wealthy have also gotten directly involved with media interests around the country. For example, Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos owns The Washington Post. The paper’s reporting on Amazon has seemed to pull punches in the past and at times has promoted an ideological agenda that supports the financial interests of its billionaire founder.
Now a16z seems to be taking an approach somewhere between Thiel’s outright attacks and Bezos’ absorption of legacy media. In addition to investments in alternative platforms like Substack and Clubhouse, the first is creating their own alternative media landscape, launching an in-house media venture to compete with tech-focused outlets – but with its content presumably under the auspices and control of the founders. The new outlet will have a clear editorial voice, according to a January 25 press release from a16z partner Margit Wennmachers, that sees the general mission of Silicon Valley as a societal good.
“Our lens is rational optimism about technology and the future,” Wennmachers wrote. “We believe that it’s better to be alive after the industrial revolution than in an agrarian society.”
Big Tech’s real mission
There’s a rather simple explanation for the actions of Andreessen, Thiel, et al. They’re not so much interested in obtaining positive coverage – though that’s certainly a consideration – they more want to reshape the institution of the media to their benefit.
There’s nothing wrong, per se, with wanting to shake up the staid institution of the American press, which doesn’t have a lot to offer readers interested in affliction of the powerful. These new media platforms like Clubhouse and Substack offer new, innovative, and needed ways for writers to reach their audiences. That’s all to the good, but is hardly the extent of the ambitions of the ultra-rich tech lords.
The diverse ecosystem of independent media that has sprung up over the past decade is profitable – for company heads, investors, and the content creators at the top. And what the tech billionaires want is a subservient press that doesn’t question Silicon Valley and the opinions and beliefs of the wealthy investors who power the tech sector. It’s not a coincidence that the targets of tand their hanger ons are people whose reporting has exposed issues of concern for the public around tech that Silicon Valley would prefer to keep quiet.
The attacks on Lorenz and others are designed to make reporters more hesitant to report on Silicon Valley’s most powerful, to add another deterring factor to the consideration of whether to chase a story. It’s not about “fairness,” it’s about power – and who gets to wield it.
Eoin Higgins is a journalist in New England. His work has also appeared in the Washington Post, The Intercept, Vice News, and many other outlets. You can find him on Twitter and Facebook.
Another tech executive has turned their eyes to Texas.
Tesla CFO Zachary Kirkhorn has bought a home in Austin, according to public records, proving that the Southern state is further attracting tech talent. Bloomberg first reported the purchase.
The home is on a 2.5-acre lot right on Lake Austin, west of downtown. According to the listing, which you can view below, it has five bedrooms, five and a half bathrooms, and more than 5,000 square feet.
There’s also a pool lined with trees that faces the lake. Per Travis County documents, the home was purchased by Kirkhorn and his partner, Daniel Naughton. The pair married in early 2018 in California, according to the New York Times. Naughton is a vice president of finance at Remix, a transportation software company, based on his LinkedIn profile.
The document is dated mid-November 2020 and notes that Kirkhorn paid $3.29 million for the house.
Tesla did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.
News of another executive moving to Texas comes after much speculation that tech workers are fleeing the San Francisco Bay Area and California in general. Many remote tech workers and leaders, now untethered from pandemic-shuttered offices, are free to move to more affordable locales.
When I finally decided to give it a try, I was surprised to find that it was strangely comforting to be peripherally part of a community while I was working and going about my day – and absent of a physical office with actual coworkers.
If you’re unfamiliar with the app like I was, here’s a basic rundown of what it’s like.
This is what your main “timeline” looks like in the Clubhouse app
It’s populated by rooms, or conversations, associated with the the people and clubs that you follow. Some of the topics I followed to inform the app of the kind of rooms I’d like were: television, storytelling, movies, current events, photography, wellness, meditation, AI, and startups.
I made sure to join one of the largest clubs on the app, Startup Club, with almost 450,000 members and followers.
There were rooms about NFTs, bitcoin, news, meditation, founder advice, coding, Reiki healings, startups, wellness, history, and more than I would think possible. There’s also a button at the bottom of the screen to start your own room.
Multiple conversations are happening all at once, and you can come and go as you please.
Clubhouse also suggests people for you to follow. I recognized the names of some of them, like comedian Tiffany Haddish, famed Silicon Valley investor Marc Andreessen, and Patreon-employee-turned Twitter personality and comedian Alexis Gay. The people hosting the rooms were business coaches, startup investors, mindfulness experts, founders, professors, journalists and much more.
The rooms I joined covered wide-ranging topics, from news to wellness to an ambient music room
The first room I joined was called “3 Minute news,” where members took turns sharing headlines of the biggest news of the day, like vaccine passports, Facebook, Minor League Baseball (MLB,) and JP Morgan CEO Jaime Dimon. One of the members and speakers was a sports reporter.
When you join a room, you’re automatically muted, so you can feel comfortable simply listening in. You can also exit the room and the app and peruse others, like Slack or Instagram, while still listening to a conversation, which I appreciated.
After a few minutes, I hopped into another room room called “Breakfast of Champions, The Millionaire Breakfast Club,” where someone was explaining to the group that she’d been seeing signs recently in the form of numbers in groups of three. She inquired from others if she thinks it means anything.
One of my favorite rooms that I found in my hours-long trial was “Talk Less Do More Celebrate Wellness Wins & Failures” by the Mind Body Game club. In it, members took turns listing what they failed or succeeded in the day prior. One speaker advised the group to “digest uncertainty with action.”
Another was a room called “Voices from the Holocaust: Meet the Survivors (Yom HaShoah)” held on Holocaust Remembrance Day, that I joined right before one of the speakers began to perform a Yiddish piece of music. One of the speakers was a Holocaust survivor, according to her bio.
Some rooms were completely silent, which confused me at first. But one I entered, a Film and TV Networking room, instructed joiners to simply be silent and read bios and club info of others present. There were film writers, producers, directors, and actors.
There was even a playlist room, with “productive beats” playing, that I listened to for a while.
All in all, I enjoyed Clubhouse way more than I thought I would. Having an audio-only community at my fingertips throughout the day made me feel at ease for some reason.
And so it makes sense why Clubhouse has been so successful during the pandemic – it caught on like wildfire within the past year as high-profile figures in the tech and business communities flocked to the platform and gave listeners a sense of company when shuttered offices provided none.
Dozens of the tech industry’s top brass have signed a letter opposing a recall election effort designed to drive California Gov. Gavin Newsom out of office, per a report from Politico.
Signees of the letter include Laurene Powell Jobs – founder of Emerson Collective and the widow of Apple visionary Steve Jobs – ex-Google CEO Eric Schmidt, ex-Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer, Zynga founder Mark Pincus, and LinkedIn founder Reid Hoffman. Angel investor Ron Conway led the effort to enlist the signed support of leaders in the tech sphere, per Politico.
Conway told Politico that the recall effort is “the last thing our state needs right now.”
“The vast majority of people in the tech community agree: replacing Governor Newsom with a Trump Republican, which is what this recall effort is really all about, would reverse our progress against COVID and would be bad for California,” Conway told Politico.
The letter, which was posted to Twitter by journalist Teddy Schleifer, addresses California residents and notes that the state has made strides in combatting the spread of COVID-19 as well as in distributing vaccines. The letter also asks residents to publicly oppose the “well-funded, politically motivated recall effort against Governor Gavin Newsom” that threatens to impede upon that success.
As the outlet notes, the letter does not specify the matter of funding, but if it eventually comes to that, the industry leaders and their extensive wealth would likely hold influence.
The Republican-organized recall campaign kicked off in 2020 in response to California’s housing and homelessness crises. But the effort was bolstered after last March due to Newsom’s handling of pandemic-related business closures and lockdowns.
The initiative lays out a number of reasons for wanting Newsom out of office, including when the governor’s large-group outing at a California restaurant was widely covered by news outlets, an outing that took place shortly after Newsom told residents to avoid social gatherings due to the pandemic. Many Republicans took issue with what they saw as hypocrisy in the governor’s actions.
Since then, he has led the company through the techlash that has engulfed social media companies, testifying before Congress multiple times.
Dorsey has also provoked his fair share of controversy and criticism, extolling fasting and ice baths as part of his daily routine. His existence is not entirely spartan, however. Like some other billionaires, he owns a stunning house, dates models, and drives fast cars.
Scroll on to read more about the fabulous life of Jack Dorsey.
Rebecca Borison and Madeline Stone contributed reporting to an earlier version of this story.
Dorsey began programming while attending Bishop DuBourg High School in St. Louis.
At age 15, Dorsey wrote dispatch software that is still used by some taxi companies.
He got a job at a podcasting company called Odeo, where he met his future Twitter cofounders.
Odeo went out of business in 2006, so Dorsey returned to his messaging idea, and Twitter was born.
On March 21, 2006, Dorsey posted the first tweet.
Dorsey kept his Twitter handle simple, “@jack.”
Dorsey and his cofounders, Evan Williams and Biz Stone, bought the Twitter domain name for roughly $7,000.
Dorsey took out his nose ring to look the part of a CEO. He was 30 years old.
A year later, Dorsey was already less hands-on at Twitter.
By 2008, Williams had taken over as CEO, and Dorsey transitioned to chairman of Twitter’s board. Dorsey immediately got started on new projects. He invested in Foursquare and launched a payments startup called Square that lets small-business owners accept credit card payments through a smartphone attachment.
Before the pandemic, Dorsey said he worked from home one day a week.
In an interview with journalist Kara Swisher conducted over Twitter, Dorsey said he worked every Tuesday out of his kitchen.
He also told Kara Swisher that Elon Musk is his favourite Twitter user.
Dorsey said Musk’s tweets are, “focused on solving existential problems and sharing his thinking openly.”
He added that he enjoys all the “ups and downs” that come with Musk’s sometimes unpredictable use of the site. Musk himself replied, tweeting his thanks and “Twitter rocks!” followed by a string of random emojis.
“It was a weird state to be in. But as I did it the next two times, it just became so apparent to me how much of our days are centered around meals and how — the experience I had was when I was fasting for much longer, how time really slowed down,” he said.
The comments drew fierce criticism from many who said Dorsey was normalizing eating disorders.
Tweets about his vacation in Myanmar also provoked an outcry.
Dorsey tweeted glowingly about a vacation he took to Myanmar for his birthday in December 2018. “If you’re willing to travel a bit, go to Myanmar,” he said.
This came at the height of the Rohingya crisis, and Dorsey was attacked for his blithe promotion of the country — especially since social media platforms were accused of having been complicit in fuelling hatred towards the Rohingya.
However, Dorsey says he doesn’t care about “looking bad.”
In a bizarre Huffington Post interview in 2019, Dorsey was asked whether Donald Trump — an avid tweeter — could be removed from the platform if he called on his followers to murder a journalist. Dorsey gave a vague answer which drew sharp criticism.
Following the interview’s publication, Dorsey said he doesn’t care about “looking bad.”
“I care about being open about how we’re thinking and about what we see,” he added.
In September 2018, Jack Dorsey was grilled by lawmakers alongside Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg.
Dorsey and Sandberg were asked about election interference on Twitter and Facebook as well as alleged anti-conservative bias in social media companies.
Dorsey testified before Congress once again on October 28, 2020.
Dorsey appeared via videoconference at the Senate hearing on Section 230, a part of US law that protects internet companies from legal liability for user-generated content, as well as giving them broad authority to decide how to moderate their own platforms.
In prepared testimony ahead of the hearing, Dorsey said stripping back Section 230 would “collapse how we communicate on the Internet,” and suggested ways for tech companies to make their moderation processes more transparent.
During the hearing, Dorsey once again faced accusations of anti-conservative bias
The accusations from Republican lawmakers focused on the way Twitter enforces its policies, particularly the way it has labelled tweets from President Trump compared to other world leaders.
Dorsey took the brunt of questions from lawmakers, even though he appeared alongside Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and Google CEO Sundar Pichai.
Dorsey’s dating life has sparked intrigue. In 2018, he was reported to be dating Sports Illustrated model Raven Lyn Corneil.
Page Six reported in September 2018 that the pair were spotted together at the Harper’s Bazaar Icons party during New York Fashion Week. Page Six also reported that Dorsey’s exes included actress Lily Cole and ballet dancer Sofiane Sylve.
He’s a big believer in cryptocurrency, frequently tweeting about its virtues.
In particular, Dorsey is a fan of Bitcoin, which he described in early 2019 as “resilient” and “principled.” He told the “Tales of the Crypt” podcast in March that he was maxing out the $10,000 weekly spending limit on Square’s Cash App buying up Bitcoin.
In October 2020 he slammed Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong for forbidding employee activism at the company, saying cryptocurrency is itself a form of activism.
At the end of 2019 Dorsey said he would move to Africa for at least three months in 2020.
Dorsey’s announcement followed a tour of Ethiopia, Ghana, Nigeria, and South Africa. “Africa will define the future (especially the bitcoin one!). Not sure where yet, but I’ll be living here for 3-6 months mid 2020,” he tweeted.
Dorsey hasn’t yet commented on how severely these plans may nor may not have been impacted by the pandemic.
Dorsey then came under threat of being ousted as Twitter CEO by activist investor Elliott Management.
Both Bloomberg and CNBC reported in late February 2020 that major Twitter investor Elliott Management — led by Paul Singer — was seeking to replace Dorsey.
Reasons given included the fact that Dorsey splits his time between two firms by acting as CEO to both Twitter and financial tech firm Square, as well as his planned move to Africa.
The deal included a $1 billion investment from private equity firm Silver Lake, and partners from both Elliott Management and Silver Lake joined Twitter’s board.
Patrick Pichette, lead independent director of Twitter’s board, said he was “confident we are on the right path with Jack’s leadership,” but added that a new temporary committee would be formed to instruct the board’s evaluation of Twitter’s leadership.
On April 7, Dorsey announced that he was forming a new charity fund that would help in global relief efforts amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The fund, dubbed Start Small LLC, will first focus on helping in the fight against the coronavirus disease, which has spread across the globe and infected more than 1.3 million people.
The CEO said he will be making all transactions on behalf of the fund public in a spreadsheet.
On July 15, hackers compromised 130 Twitter accounts in a bitcoin scam.
The accounts of high-profile verified accounts belonging to Bill Gates, Kim Kardashian West, and others were hacked, with attackers tweeting out posts asking users to send payment in bitcoin to fraudulent cryptocurrency addresses.
As a solution, Twitter temporarily blocked all verified accounts — those with blue check marks on their profiles — but the damage was done.
Elon Musk said he personally contacted Dorsey following the hack.
During a July 2020 interview with The New York Times, Musk said he had immediately called Dorsey after he learned about the hack.
“Within a few minutes of the post coming up, I immediately got texts from a bunch of people I know, then I immediately called Jack so probably within less than five minutes my account was locked,” said Musk.
Green Gables, a sprawling 74-acre estate in Woodside, California, has hit the market for $135 million.
It’s the most expensive and one of the largest private homes for sale in the Silicon Valley area, according to reports from Bloomberg and the San Francisco Chronicle.
In 1907, Mortimer Fleishhacker Sr., the founder of Anglo California Bank and the Great Western Power Co., started assembling adjacent swaths of land in Woodside with the goal of building a family compound, according to Christie’s International Listing, which holds the listing along with Compass.
Fleishhacker Sr.’s great-grandson, Marc Fleishhacker, who lives in Florence, Italy, told Bloomberg that he and the nine other cousins who own shares of the home decided to sell it as the family grew and the question of who would inherit the property became too complicated.
Zackary Wright of Christie’s International Real Estate and Brad Miller and Helen Miller of Compass are the listing agents.
Woodside, where Fleishhacker Sr. amassed his sprawling estate, is a wealthy suburb of about 5,500 people near San Jose.