Coronavirus: Twitter Boss Jack Dorsey Pledges $1 Billion For Covid-19 Fight

Twitter CEO and co-founder Jack Dorsey has announced a substantial donation to aid in the fight against the Coronavirus pandemic sweeping the world.

His announcement came on the day when the United States recorded a total of 12,857 people dying from the virus, as of Wednesday 8 April 2020. Italy is still the worst affected country with 17,127 deaths, and Spain is a close second with 14,045 deaths. France has so far recorded 10,328 deaths and the UK 6,159 deaths.

However, it should be remembered that the data from the World Health Organisation (WHO) only records deaths in hospitals. It doesn’t take into account deaths in care homes or other locations, from Covid-19.

Twitter chief executive Jack Dorsey

Ousting attempt

Jack Dorsey for his part had recently survived an attempt to oust him, by activist shareholder group Elliott Management.

Dorsey, it should be remembered, besides being CEO of Twitter, is also chief executive of Square, an online payment company.

Dorsey reportedly spends his mornings at Twitter, and afternoons at Square (Twitter and Square’s San Francisco offices are located across the street from each other).

Dorsey had also in November 2019 said he planned to live and work in Africa for part (up to half) of each year.

However Dorsey subsequently said he would “re-evaluate those plans”, citing concerns about the novel Coronavirus as his reason.

Indeed, Dorsey’s running of two separate companies and his announcement about moving to Africa, were cited as the motivations for Elliot’s initial desire to remove Dorsey from his post.

Coronavirus donation

And now 43 year old Dorsey has said he will donate $1bn (£810m) of his stake in Square, towards fight against the coronavirus pandemic.

His revealed the generous donation in a series of tweets, and noted it represented 28 percent of his wealth.

“I’m moving $1B of my Square equity (~28% of my wealth) to #startsmall LLC to fund global Covid-19 relief,” Dorsey tweeted. “After we disarm this pandemic, the focus will shift to girl’s health and education, and UBI (universal basic income). It will operate transparently…”

Dorsey, whose net worth is estimated at $3.3 billion by Forbes, also confirmed that he was using his stake in Square instead of Twitter because he owns a bigger portion of the payments processor firm.

“Why now?,” he tweeted. “The needs are increasingly urgent, and I want to see the impact in my lifetime. I hope this inspires others to do something similar. Life is too short, so let’s do everything we can today to help people now.”

Tech response

The global pandemic has seen the tech industry rally to the fight, and make donations and pledges.

Google for example has pledged $800 million for the fight (mostly in the form of free advertising) for the WHO and other health bodies.

Cisco meanwhile has committed $225 million in cash and equipment to support both the global and local response to Covid-19.

Apple is working with the US government’s Coronavirus Task Force, the CDC and FEMA, and has released an iOS app and website that provide information and self-diagnosis assistance related to Covid-19.

It has also said it would donate more than 10 million respirator masks across the US and Europe.

Facebook meanwhile has offered free ad credits to the WHO and other institutions to provide accurate information about the coronavirus.

CEO Mark Zuckerberg has also committed $30 million, mostly focused on efforts to create a treatment.

IBM meanwhile is donating its supercomputing resources to help in the fight against the global pandemic.

And Amazon’s Jeff Bezos has donated $100 million to food banks in the United States, to help those people struggling during this period.

Tom Jowitt

Tom Jowitt is a leading British tech freelancer and long standing contributor to Silicon UK. He is also a bit of a Lord of the Rings nut...

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