Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey defended getting advice from a conservative activist accused of anti-Semitism and called his perspective “interesting” in an interview with HuffPost.
Dorsey privately reached out to Ali Akbar for his opinion on whether to follow other social media platforms and remove content made by conspiracy theorist Alex Jones, The Wall Street Journal reported earlier this month.
Akbar has been described by some media outlets as anti-Semitic; HuffPost reporter Ashley Feinberg, who interviewed Dorsey, pointed out that Ali frequently points out the Jewish identities of media figures he criticizes, such as “Anti-white comments from Jewish anti-Trump commentator Bill Kristol,” “Jake Tapper who is a Jewish left-leaning journalist” and “The conservative Jewish publication The Daily Wire.”
“He has a whole series of these, and he seems like a very specific kind of figure to reach out to,” Feinberg said. “Were you aware of his past comments and his tendency to identify which members of the media are Jews?”
Dorsey didn’t condemn the tweets; he explained that they had a friend in common and thought “the perspective is interesting.”
“I don’t act on all of his comments. I listen, and I think that’s the most important thing,” he said. “I was introduced to him by a friend, and you know, he’s got interesting points. I don’t obviously agree with most. But, I think the perspective is interesting.”
Dorsey said he doesn’t think that reaching out to Akbar legitimized his rhetoric.
“No, no. I mean, if I followed his direction, then certainly,” he said. “But it’s just input.”
Dorsey promised that Twitter was working on ways to curb its widespread harassment problem, though offered few details. The Anti-Defamation League reported in May that there had been 4.2 million anti-Semitic tweets over a 12-month period ending in January 2018.