Twitter’s Dorsey launching universal basic incomes in 14 cities, including Atlanta

Jack Dorsey, the billionaire CEO of Twitter, announced Thursday he is working with 14 American mayors to fund universal basic income trials in their cities.

The locations of those programs, as reported by Business Insider, include Atlanta; Los Angeles; Chicago; Jackson, Mississippi; and Newark, New Jersey.

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Dorsey’s trial programs are part of a larger initiative called Mayors for a Guaranteed Income. The organization was founded in June and is based in Stockton, California. Its guaranteed income pilot program is called the Stockton Economic Empowerment Demonstration and was started by Mayor Michael Tubbs.

Atlanta’s program is called the Old Fourth Ward Economic Security Task Force. The organization’s website describes the effort as a “six-month initiative charged with designing a pilot program to provide greater economic supports for residents of one of Atlanta’s most historic and rapidly gentrifying neighborhoods.”

“Economic insecurity isn’t a new challenge or a partisan issue,” the organization’s website said. “Wealth and income inequality, which have long plagued our country, continue to grow. Even prior to the pandemic, people who were working two and three jobs still couldn’t afford basic necessities. COVID-19 has only further exposed the economic fragility of most American households, and has disproportionately impacted Black and Brown people.”

Dorsey, whose net worth, according to Forbes, is $7.5 billion, will sink $3 million from his nonprofit into the program.

Entrepreneur and former presidential candidate Andrew Yang announced in May that he will give $500 to 20 New Yorkers every month for the next five years through his nonprofit in an effort to test the effects of the policy. Yang’s universal basic income proposal is called the Freedom Dividend.

Dorsey was one of several social media and tech CEOs who came under fire Wednesday during a Senate hearing on Capitol Hill.

With worries about election security growing, senators on the Commerce Committee extracted promises from Dorsey, Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg and Google’s Sundar Pichai that their companies will be on guard against meddling by foreign actors or the incitement of violence around the election results.

Testifying via video, the executives said they are taking several steps, including partnerships with news organizations, to distribute accurate information about voting. Dorsey said Twitter was working closely with state election officials.

“We want to give people using the service as much information as possible,” he said.

Republicans, led by President Donald Trump, have accused the social media platforms of deliberately suppressing conservative, religious and anti-abortion views, and they say that behavior has reached new heights in the contest between the president and Democratic nominee Joe Biden.

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