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Twitter CEO talks safety, objectives of the 'interest network' service: Mainichi interview

Twitter co-founder and CEO Jack Dorsey sits for an interview in Tokyo's Chuo Ward on Nov. 14, 2017. (Mainichi)

Co-founder and CEO of Twitter Inc. Jack Dorsey sat down for an exclusive interview with the Mainichi Shimbun at Twitter Japan's headquarters in Tokyo's Chuo Ward on Nov. 14, discussing safety as well as transparency in user policies.

"Our top priority as a company is around making Twitter safer and safer, and removing the potential for abuse and harassment -- especially when it is targeted," Dorsey said when asked about the recent incident where the remains of nine people were discovered in an apartment in Zama, Kanagawa Prefecture. The suspect is thought to have targeted the victims' suicidal tweets and used the service to get close to them.

"We have been putting a lot of our attention and focus on initiatives that help Twitter be safer, help people report negative behavior or negative activity on the service," he explained. "But it's important to remember that because of our openness, you can see what's happening much faster than anywhere else ... That gives everyone a level playing field to do so. While there are some negatives, there are many positives ... We need to make sure we are giving the right tools to everyone to use the service in a positive way."

When asked about the objectives of the service as a whole, the Twitter CEO defined the service as "not a social network, but ... an interest network," and said the company is "focused on serving people what's happening within their interests, what's happening within their community, what's happening within their country, their city, or around the world," in a way that he believes is much different from services such as Facebook.

Additionally, concerning questions about the transparency of Twitter's user policy that have arisen among Japanese users, Dorsey said that Twitter is "not doing enough" to explain the rules, and that the company is working toward being more transparent about their policies, enforcement of the rules and how the service works.

He also revealed that the company has no plans to raise the character limit of tweets in Japan to 280 characters as the service did in North America and Europe.

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