Jack Dorsey Says Social Media Has an Algorithm Problem, and Elon Musk Agrees: 'We Are Being Programmed'


Jack Dorsey is weighing in on the almighty algorithm.

The former CEO and co-founder of Twitter, now X, talked to author and financial analyst Lyn Alden about the current state of social media on Tuesday.

“This is going to sound a little bit crazy but I think the free speech debate is a complete distraction right now,” Dorsey said.

According to Dorsey, the real debate is about free will.

“We are being programmed based on what we say we’re interested in,” Dorsey said. “And we are told through these discovery mechanisms what is interesting.”

Related: Jack Dorsey Reveals Why He Left Bluesky, Deleted Account

X owner Elon Musk called attention to Dorsey’s comments on Wednesday and publicly agreed with him.

“Yeah, @Jack is right,” Musk wrote.

Studies show that while social media algorithms are meant to boost ad revenue by maximizing user engagement, they also end up amplifying existing human biases and pushing people deeper into extreme positions.

Dorsey’s comments were widely circulated, and in some cases questioned, on social media this week.

One X user asked why Dorsey didn’t say this earlier when he was in charge of Twitter.

Another suggested completely removing algorithms that recommend content on social media.

Dorsey stated that he did bring attention to these topics while running the platform he cofounded and that Twitter was the first platform that allowed people to turn off the algorithm — simply by going to the “following” tab instead of the “for you” tab.

Related: Jack Dorsey Exits Bluesky Confirms on ‘Freedom Technology’ X

A solution to the algorithm problem, according to Dorsey’s interview with Alden, is “a marketplace of algorithms.”

Elon Musk (L) and Jack Dorsey (R). Photo by JIM WATSON/AFP via Getty Images

Dorsey laid out a future where people have a choice in the algorithm that shapes their feed.

This could be something that users build on their own to layer on top of an existing social media network. It could alternatively be an algorithm they choose, and easily swap out, from a party they trust.

Companies like Google and Facebook achieved their value because they solved the problem of how to discover content on the Internet, according to Dorsey.

Related: Jack Dorsey Says Corporate AI Has Surpassed Twitter, X

“The public square cannot be owned by one company,” Dorsey said. “The public square, by default, is the Internet.”

According to Dorsey, the X team is the only one at its level currently thinking about having people choose what algorithm they want to use.

Dorsey only follows three people on X — Elon Musk, Edward Snowden, and Stella Assange — after unfollowing over 2,000 accounts last month.

He also called X “freedom technology” around the same time, stating weeks later that corporate AI models have surpassed it as the “closest form of global consciousness.”





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