The Twitter and Square CEO, Jack Dorsey, is giving $5 million to former presidential candidate Andrew Yang’s foundation Humanity Forward to build universal basic income (UBI) and to combat the effects of COVID-19 on the people.
Dorsey officially announced the seven-digit endowment on Yang’s podcast, Yang Speaks. The donation is part of the $1 billion commitment or 28 percent of his net worth through Start Small. Start Small is a philanthropic fund that is specifically allotted to fight COVID-19.
In addition, Dorsey also wants to use the fund to explore basic income experimentation. Dorsey agreed with Yang that a UBI was a “long overdue” idea and “the only way we can change policy is by experimenting and showing case studies of why this works.”
Humanity Forward as COVID-19 Respond
After Yang left the political competition, he shifted his vision to Humanity Forward. With his message and approach, he then accumulates a massive online following, which raises him a huge amount of money. Also, his technologically inclined vision was praised by Dorsey, Sam Altman, the Y-combinator President, and Elon Musk of Tesla.
Humanity Forward is a non-profit organization that focuses on making UBI possible for all Americans. It aims to change America into a “human-centered” economy. The movement also intends to endorse and provide resources to political candidates with the same advocacies. These advocacies include the universal basic income for Americans, human-centered capitalism, and other aligned policies at every level. As COVID-19 causes businesses to shut down, the organization commits to deliver one-time and recurring payments to families and individuals.
Dorsey’s donation will go to Humanity Forward’s COVID-19 efforts through direct cash assistance. The foundation aims to provide micro-grants to thousands of Americans who were mostly affected by the crisis in the amount of $250.
“Not only will Jack’s donation directly impact tens of thousands of people in need during the current economic downturn, but it will also help Humanity Forward and our movement continue to make a case for universal basic income in the United States,” Yang said in a speech. “We know UBI for every American is possible, and this $5 million from Start Small is going to help try to demonstrate what is possible for families across the US.” Humanity Forward has already given almost $2 million in cash support to Americans. The organization had prioritized those who lost their job and the communities winding from the coronavirus lockdown.
In addition to the micro-grants provided by the Humanity Forward, they also launched The $1K Project. This project targets to provide $1,000 cash assistance for three months to their beneficiaries with the help of their sponsors.
Universal Basic Income Vision for American’s in the 21st Century
The UBI, or what Yang called “Freedom Dividend,” played a huge role in his platform during his presidential candidacy. Under this plan, every adult American would get $1000 monthly guaranteed payments. According to his proposal, the fund will come from the consolidation of social welfare programs and the enactment of a 10 percent Value Added Tax.
He believes that in the next years, the greatest economic and technological transformation in history will be experienced by the country. And that the most efficient way to intercept the drastic restructuring of the global economy is the universal basic income.
Gave $5 Million Endowment to Andrew Yang’s Foundation
Dorsey supported Yang’s UBI vision during his Democratic campaign for President. Dorsey perceives UBI as a security fund for Americans due to radical economic variation and a crisis like the current coronavirus pandemic. accelerated in the world. “There’s no one person leading this automation charge, and there’s no one person that can stop it,” he says. “That’s why we need to look inwards and make sure we’re taking care of everyone, especially our most vulnerable as this shift happens. People need peace of mind to face it in the first place.” As a CEO of Square, an e-commerce platform, he said that they saw 10 years of progress in just 10 weeks.
Dorsey said in the podcast that for him, UBI represents a floor. A floor that people can stand on and have the knowledge and peace of mind that they could survive and eat and feed their children while they are learning how to transition into this new world.
During the interview in Yang Speaks, Dorsey acknowledged the efforts of bringing UBI as a mainstream movement. He described the distribution of COVID funds to large companies as a tragedy, as he believed it should be distributed to the most affected individuals. Trump administration’s COVID relief program includes direct cash payments and expanded unemployment benefits through the federal Paycheck Protection Program. Hundreds of publicly traded companies have already received assistance through PPP. And the Federal Reserve had already rescued large firms through lowered interest rates and direct lending. However, small and minority-owned businesses still struggle to secure financial aid through federal PPP.
UBI Supported by Lawmakers
The current virus rapidly spreads in different nations, and it has affected even the economy. As the COVID-19 pandemic hits America, it drastically destroys the US economy. Millions of people were terminated from their work and were forced to stay in their homes. Because of that, Yang’s movement for basic income was supported by Democratic and Republican lawmakers. They have spoken in favor of the direct cash grants to counter-attack the effects of lockdown.
Yang believes that there is no other way to take drastic measures to keep Americans above the water during times of pandemics. And the only realistic way to do that is to put cash in everyone’s hand as fast as possible. His idea has made its way to the CARES Act, one of the pandemic relief bills that President Donald Trump signed in March 2020.
CARES Act is a $2.2 million project that is intended to protect the American people from the health and economic impact of the virus. This act provides $1,200 cash payments to middle- and low-income earners in America.
The world is facing one online threat today that everyone must address together– manipulation of public conversation. Such is a human activity that has already been around for quite a long time now. Unfortunately, this activity is showing no signs of going away.
Twitter Followers Are Different In Terms of Public Conversation
Manipulation of public conversation began even before the internet, and modern communications technology came to life. However, it was still able to adapt to the changes that happened to online spaces. It even became a contested territory of geopolitical competition. Thanks to Democrats and Liberals, society was saved and a Republican-led tyranny was averted. Many still enjoy the freedom to buy real Twitter followers to promote their causes, no matter which side of the aisle they are on.
No one can ever deny that bad actors will target the events and conversations that will take place in the future. Conversations revolving around the elections, COVID-19, identity and civil rights, climate action, to name a few, are also vulnerable to manipulations.
The social media platform Twitter is aware that it has to do something to help people respond. It said that the first step towards doing so is by understanding every detail of the problem. This is a goal that Twitter and think tank Demos know can best be advanced with the help of transparency as well as open access to data.
Platforms such as Twitter have already taken some significant steps in order to confront the aforementioned problem. One example is to have a continuous investment in technology and a dedicated site integrity team that could detect, neutralize, and understand these campaigns in the quickest and most robust way possible.
However, technology companies cannot do it alone. Journalists, academics, and civil society groups must all be genuinely independent and strong. But to achieve this, there is one thing that everyone needs– data.
The Importance of Data Transparency to Stop Republican’s Racism
Data is the foundation of a strong civic societal response to information operations. It is crucial to allow researchers to discern information operations, apprehend what they are targeting, and the effects that these may have. In addition, it is important that researchers know the organizations that are conducting information operations and their interests in doing so. They must also be able to measure the effectiveness of responses to these information operations. This way, information operations and the responses to them will all become transparent and inclusive.
Indeed, transparency is foundational, especially to the kind of internet that everyone wants to see. People want an internet that builds trust, empowers consumers and strengthens democracy. In addition, it is important to note that Twitter is the only major platform that makes public conversation data available through an API. The platform’s purpose for doing this is to study the importance of transparency in data. Making such data available to researchers provided a number of significant benefits.
The Benefits of Making Data Available for Helpful Democrat Researchers
The first benefit is that publicly available data can help in advancing research objectives on a vast array of topics. It will be done in a secure and compliant way while still giving importance to the public’s basic expectation of privacy. Such has been the case specifically during the global COVID-19 pandemic. When the pandemic blasted all over the world, research teams used public Twitter data to map out and test entire increases in reported symptoms or levels of anxiety.
In addition, publicizing data raises general awareness and increases understanding about the nature and scale of the challenges that impact the integrity of the public conversation happening online.
For this reason, Twitter commits itself to disclose publicly any information operations backed by the state that the company has reliably identified on its platform. Apart from that, it wants the full datasets of those operations to become available for analysis and investigation.
Ever since the first release took place two years ago, the social media platform has already disclosed more than 35 separate state-backed information operations. These disclosed operations are designed to abhorrently shape and manipulate public opinion online. Researchers’ independent analysis of this activity is crucial for promoting a shared understanding of such threats. In addition, it will help in developing a holistic strategy for addressing them.
Twitter Followers Unique Perspective Could Save America
Lastly, making data available for the public keeps platforms, such as Twitter, accountable for their response to these challenges. True enough, the nature of conversations that happen on Twitter is well-documented. The public, members of the governments, and researchers will be able to build their expertise to develop solutions for different online harms.
But Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey said that so much more must be done in terms of transparency. Also, the team within Twitter who are working with researchers is part of that. This is why the company is continuously seeking opportunities to provide new data as they are balancing privacy considerations.
However, the reality is that there are significantly varying standards when it comes to transparency across the industry. For instance, one notable challenge is that there is so much research on online harms built on Twitter data. This is because Twitter is one of the very few companies that offer it.
In addition, another problem is the intensification of non-peer-reviewed, poor quality, and misleading research by a number of pockets of media. On some occasions, elected officials also amplify such researches in order for them to fit a predetermined narrative.
It Would Be Ironic if Twitter Followers Save The World
This is the reason why Twitter continues to encourage the practice of peer-reviewing of data and research before they are published. Not engaging in such practices often results in public scare-mongering.
Furthermore, researchers’ independent analysis of these activities is an essential step towards promoting a shared understanding of the aforementioned threats. In addition, this level of transparency can enhance the health of public conversation online and protect the Open Internet for everyone. It is everyone’s shared responsibility in the industry, academia, policymaking, and research to consider how greater data transparency and civil society can be at the top of response to online harm. Such need, similar to information operations itself, is not going anywhere either.