Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey is having a rough time on Twitter.
After a bumpy visit to India, where he received backlash from Hindu nationalists for holding a poster saying “Smash Brahmanical Patriarchy,” he caused another firestorm on the social media platform he created on Saturday when he tweeted a loving travelogue of a recent visit to Myanmar — one that never once referenced the plight of the country’s embattled Rohingya Muslims.
In a series of tweets, the billionaire recounted details of his 10-day Vipassana meditation retreat — one that your faithful Coconuts Yangon crew told you included meditating 3,000 feet over Bagan in an hot-air balloon — to his 4 million followers, encouraging them to visit the Southeast Asian country.
Hopelessly naive tech bro? Willfully ignoring the biggest story in the country for the past several years? Hard to say, but Dorsey quickly found out what most of us already know: Twitter justice is swift and merciless, even if you created the platform.
While Dorsey offered plenty of material to work with (rich guys in beanies nattering on about spirituality is almost always cringe-inducing), most were understandably focusing on the fact that his tweet thread never once mentioned the most widely covered story in the country — the ethnic cleansing of Rohingya Muslims in Northern Rakhine State.
The dismayed reactions even quickly got their own hashtag: #JackIgnoresGenocide.
soulless billionaire pseudo-buddhism is one of the grossest things on the planet
— Saladin Ahmed (@saladinahmed) December 9, 2018
How can CEO and founder of #Twitter @Jack be so unaware of the #Rohingya #genocide in #Myanmar? Tweeps have been trying to bring this to his attention since 2012! Does he pay no attention to the news and outcry on his own platform?? This is bad as #Facebook #Zuckerberg
— Jamila Hanan (@JamilaHanan) December 9, 2018
It’s actually pretty on brand for @jack to promote going to a country where they’re committing genocide as some sort of low key meditation retreat.
— john r stanton (@dcbigjohn) December 9, 2018
— All Rohingya Now (@AllRohingyaNow) December 9, 2018
Even Yanghee Lee, the now-exiled Special Rapporteur on Myanmar, got in on the act, drawing Dorsey’s attention to a pinned tweet from March in which he pledged to aid the country and seemingly questioning if that included Rohingya.
For good measure, she then suggested he was in danger of following in Facebook’s perceived culpability in the unfolding genocide. (Editor: Unless, of course, you think there’s another social media “beast” she might be referencing).
I hope you follow this committment to the letter. But please be sensitive of the atrocious crimes that Rohingyas and other ethnic religious minorities continue to face. Don't morph yourself into another "beast" as did another social media platform. https://t.co/8RLyyKqF9j
— Yanghee Lee (@YangheeLeeSKKU) December 9, 2018
She wasn’t alone in drawing that parallel. Tech news site Gizmodo did the same, Tweeting a headline that referenced social media’s “enabling” of genocide (though to be fair, some have suggested Facebook’s role has been overblown).
— Gizmodo (@Gizmodo) December 9, 2018
Only adding to netizens’ bafflement was the choice of location for Dorsey’s spent 10 days in silence: Pyin Oo Lwin, the town where Myanmar’s military officer academy is located. D’oh!
A fun fact is that Pyin Oo Lwin is the site of the Myanmar military's officer academy. Very peaceful, very chill. https://t.co/mkpqvYjdUl
— Aubrey Belford (@AubreyBelford) December 9, 2018
Of course, maybe everyone’s being a bit too harsh. Maybe we should all stop complaining about Twitter if we don’t want Dorsey to shut it down and force us to live our own actual lives, as Chrissy Teigen jokingly suggested.
we gotta stop complaining about this site or Jack will shut it down and we’ll have to get lives and take care of our two children, Luna and miles
— christine teigen (@chrissyteigen) December 9, 2018
Then again, maybe he just needs to “get a blog.”
— rdwrtPimSchravendijk (@rdwrt) December 9, 2018