Twitter's Dorsey Hosts ‘Tweetup’ With Tacos to Foster Community

(Bloomberg) -- Twitter Inc. Chief Executive Officer Jack Dorsey held an impromptu event in San Francisco, trying to revive the social network’s original image as a public town square while it’s been fending off malicious content and fake news.

Dorsey invited his 4 million followers to meet at the restaurant Tacolicious in the North Beach neighborhood on Tuesday evening. Dorsey called the event a "tweetup,” which refers to a group of Twitter users organizing to meet in person. Though such gatherings were a more common occurrence in the early days of Twitter, one had not been initiated by a Twitter executive in several years. The concept is used informally by individual Twitter users, but has also been used for gathering attendees for networking and charity events.

Twitter will be increasing the frequency of “tweetups” in an effort to make the platform more conversational and to connect users in real life, according to a spokesman. The company reports third-quarter earnings Thursday, and investors will be watching to see whether it’s able to continue to attract users to the site after purging millions of suspicious accounts. Amid struggles to clamp down on spam and abuse, Dorsey has made ridding the platform of toxic content and improving the health of conversation his top priorities. The CEO also held a "tweetup" last week in a coffee shop in St. Louis.

Twitter fans in San Francisco flooded Tacolicious to attend the event, passing through security at the front door before entering the restaurant. People crowded around Dorsey, taking photos with him and posting them on Twitter right after. Twitter employees and executives were in attendance, including Chief Financial Officer Ned Segal and co-founder Biz Stone. Attendees mixed and mingled over free tacos and drinks.

Once celebrated as the spark for democratic movements, Twitter has more recently been criticized for aiding state sponsored suppression. Dorsey and executives from other social media companies have been called to Congress several times over the past year to explain how their platforms allowed foreign agents to meddle in American politics and spread divisive messages. Dorsey has also had to defend Twitter’s content moderation policies, amid allegations that the company and other social networking companies have biases towards certain political views.

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