After months of toxicity, complacence and what amounts to the implementation of “there are good people on both sides,” I quit Twitter. While there was a straw that broke the camel’s back, it’s something thats been building since about 2014. Twitter has been a corrupt, hateful, toxic place that generates Jack Dorsey money, and destroys our national dialog — not because of the format of Twitter, but the greed of the company.
Twitter used to be a really cool place. I provided a venue me, an every day guy, to interact with people that I otherwise wouldn’t have have the opportunity to. I followed and interacted with my favorite authors, people really admired like Chris Kluwe, Jessica Plecko and a whole bunch of others. I got up-to-the-minute news as it was happening. It was a great thing.
Then something started to change. I first noticed back in 2014 with a movement that was totally about ethics in game journalism, but just also happened to involve tweeting death threats, SWATing women in game development and those men who dared support them. Gamergate, as it was called, turned into something monstrous. They drove people out of the gaming industry, argued against representation in games and made the mob-mentality that we often see with Trump followers acceptable.
Gamergate’s social influence eventually waned, but the behaviors it normalized didn’t. Swatting, sock-puppet accounts, bad-faith arguments, spreading of blatant lies lived in — in fact they grew. Screaming and threatening people out of discussion. People have lost their jobs because of this mob and these tactics. People have died. While Twitter wasn’t the start for this kind of behavior, it was the megaphone that told the world this type of behavior was fine, accepted.
Right as Gamergate was winding down, the 2016 presidental run was gearing up and we saw a mobilization of the same tactics used in Gamergate being used against pretty much anyone who wasn’t Trump by the alt-right. Trump himself was spewing hate-speech. He made calls for violence against his ideological opponents, which were clear violations of their Terms of Service. It just kept getting worse. Being a liberal and talking politics on Twitter meant running of the risk of being randomly targetted by the mob — doxxed, harassed, calls placed to your place of employment, fake police reports. These people don’t just want you silenced they want your life destroyed for the crime of disagreeing with them.
Twitter and Jack Dorsey still had zero fucks to give that their platform was being turned into an ideological weapon, used as integral part of a domestic terrorism ring.
It’s continued to get worse. Twitter finally made an effort to clean up it’s act after their role in the spread of intentionally Fake News that impacted the outcome of the 2016 election came to light. Things seemed to be improving — accounts were culled, reported accounts were dealt with quickly and effeciently. Twitter was almost a fun place to be again .
Then, Twitter gave up again. The alt-right came back en force. Attacking anyone who disagreed brutally. They figured out how to weaponize Twitter’s own policies and many prominent liberal voices Twitter were suspended or permanently banned for minor infractions. Meanwile the alt-right continued to spew vileness, call for violence against progressives. Twitter was perfectly happy to just let it all happen.
Which brings me to Friday, October 12. A role model of mine and kick-ass author Chuck Wendig was fired from his job at Marvel because of this same alt-right mob. The rationale for his firing? He was being ‘uncivil,’ to people on Twitter. To the alt-right. He was Jessica Price’d, he pissed off the alt-right mob because he didn’t treat them like porcelin dolls and he lost his job because of it.
Wendig started trending on Twitter and I clicked the topic. For every supportive tweet there were two that were celebrating the fact he got fired, dancing on his proverbial grave. I started reporting for targeted harassment, and reporting and reporting and reporting and eventually after 20 minutes of reporting I had the sad realization that it didn’t matter. Twitter was never going back to what it was.
I’ve been on the edge of deactivating for a while, but there are people who I generally enjoy interacting with on there. But I realized that as much as I love those people, it wasn’t enough to continue to support a platform that was actively destroying our democracy and just did not. fucking. care. Twitter is a cesspool, a wonderful idea corrupted and tainted by the wrong belief that all speech is equal, that laissez faire approach to governance on their platform was the correct approach.
Twitter became a platform full of fake accounts, political extremist; it contributed to the increasing ideological divide of the country, influenced a presidental election through spreading misinformation, became a platform for hatred and bigotry, and Twitter just doesn’t care. I can’t support that, and neither should you.
Twitter is a cancer in our society and needs to be knocked offline. It’s a self-made cancer, created through their own greed and broken ideals of non-intervention. Jack Dorsey has created a monstrous, sick community.
This 900-word post can be succicently summed up with,
“Twitter, it’s not me. It’s you. Fuck you and fuck Jack.”
3 thoughts on “Twitter, it’s not me, it’s you.”
This is all insightful and true. Twitter, Facebook, and other social media companies are not producing bad effects solely because of their technology. There are direct social choices related to policy and implementation at work. Twitter used to call itself “the free speech wing of the free speech party,” and absence of restrictions on Nazis and harrassment is part of what they meant by that. It’s not a simple story where social media automatically shreds the fabric of society; the actual, specific people who run the key companies made concrete choices to shred that fabric.
You believe in your side of the truth and negate the other. You cry foul when the same rules are applied on either side. Take your blinders off, let lose your bias, an maybe people will actually read through 950 words of venom pointed in whatever direction you the political world is blowing today.
OK sparkles. Whatever you say.