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Anchored by Jake Tapper, The Lead airs at 4 p.m. ET on CNN.

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April 16th, 2014
05:29 PM ET

Twitter co-founder Biz Stone: It's not about technology

(CNN) – It's not about the technology, says Twitter co-founder Biz Stone.

Seems like an odd statement, coming from a man who co-founded a social media platform that helped bring governments to their knees. But in his new book "Things a Little Bird Told Me," Stone describes his last day at Twitter, writing about how upsetting it was to learn the company was doing a town hall meeting with President Barack Obama.

Stone wanted Twitter to be government neutral.

"I just have this general philosophy that it's really all about people, not technology. I believe in the triumph of humanity with a little help from technology," Stone said in an interview with CNN's "The Lead with Jake Tapper."

"Whenever things happen around the world and Twitter gets mentioned along with it, I always try to make sure people see it's people that are doing this. You know, when the Berlin wall fell, it wasn't like AT&T was like, 'Hey they used phones! Phones helped!'" said Stone.

Sure, Stone is proud that Twitter has played a part in revolutions and the empowerment of the people.

"I’m certainly an advocate for the power that free speech gives everyone, especially when you lower the barrier to it," said Stone. But "we spent a lot of effort trying to stay very neutral. We were invited multiple times to do these impressive things that were big compliments. And I got very upset when I learned the company was going to be visually linked (with the U.S. government)."

There’s a great anecdote in the book, when Stone meets with Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, who wants to know what kind of money it would take to sell Twitter to Facebook. Stone and another co-founder, Evan Williams, didn't want to sell the company, and came up with "a ridiculous number that no one would ever agree to" - $500 million.

"We had a great laugh about that, we couldn't breathe we thought it was so funny. The offer came through, then we had to be very polite and say you know thank you so much, but we want to take this company all the way. We want to build a company of enduring value," said Stone.

Twitter is now worth more than $25 billion. The stock jumped 11% Tuesday, its biggest leap since a rough start going public back in November.

Stone's latest venture is Jelly. The social Q&A app relies on photos and friends to find answers to questions that may not fit neatly into a Google search, such as, "What kind of leaf is this?"

"It works better than computers in some cases because you can’t just show a computer a leaf and find out what tree it's from, but you can certainly take a picture," said Stone.

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