Hillary Clinton Says Social Media Can Help Conflicting Nations “Find Our Humanity”

Predictably, she kept mum on whether she would run.

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton swung by Twitter’s headquarters Monday night. She avoided questions of whether she would run, but praised social media for its ability to help conflicting nations and organizations communicate, referring specifically to Hamas and Israel.


“Too often, people use it as a weapon instead of an opportunity, and maybe one of the ways we can think together about the next phase of development of social media is a tool of outreach, a tool of reconciliation, a tool of negotiation, and perhaps a tool of resolution,” she said in a Q&A led by Twitter’s new head of global media, Katie Stanton, who used to work under Clinton at the State Department. Instead, Clinton said she is holding out hope that social media can help foster better relations among individuals, organizations, and nations. “That’s the real promise of social media–that we would indeed find our common humanity and act on that.”

Clinton’s visit to Twitter’s San Francisco office marks her one-year anniversary on the social network. She famously embraced social media in 2012 with the meme and wildly popular Tumblr blog Texts from Hillary.

The former presidential candidate also stood against Internet censorship, taking aim, in particular, at China’s Great Firewall. “I think Internet freedom is a fundamental human right,” she said. “But what I have found is more and more countries are trying to restrict the Internet, trying to censor it, trying to eliminate opposing point of views. There has to be both a governmental response to that and a social media response to that.”

Of course, there was the elephant in the room. Would she run, and if so, who would be her running mate? “I’m not ready yet to say I’ll do it, or get it done,” Clinton said. “I’m going to take a pass on that.”

Understandably, most questions were left unanswered. Logistically, there were too many–with the #AskHillary hashtag soaring to the top spot in San Francisco and spawning 37,000 tweets–but also Stanton’s selective highlighting. Basically, if you weren’t famous (e.g., Amy Poehler, Kerry Washington, Melinda Gates, Malala) or a Twitter employee, your question wasn’t chosen.

About the author

Based in San Francisco, Alice Truong is Fast Company's West Coast correspondent. She previously reported in Chicago, Washington D.C., New York and most recently Hong Kong, where she (left her heart and) worked as a reporter for the Wall Street Journal.