I'm finally deleting my Twitter account
12 years after my first tweet I am deleting my Twitter account. Under Elon Musk Twitter has become a platform actively promoting hate, bigotry, and anti-democratic tendencies, with no indication that this is going to change any time soon.
Twitter has had its fair share of problems for a while, even before Elon Musk bought the platform, and its problems have not been limited to the discussions surrounding the suspension of high-profile accounts.
I have always had a nostalgic preference for Twitter . My current main account was created in 2011, just when the social media network was used (and therefore censored) during the Arab Spring protests to spread information about the uprisings. I was closely following the work of Telecomix that was restoring internet connectivity (and thus freedom of speech) in regions affected by internet shutdowns and censorship.
Since Elon Musk took over Twitter I have seen a rapid increase in spam, especially crypto scams, being pushed as mentions or private messages. More and more racist, misogynistic, homophobic tweets pop up in my timeline and Musk himself promotes his tweets regularly into the "for you" section on Twitter. Native (nonpaid) reach has drastically decreased - unless you pay for "Twitter Blue", which I fervently refuse to do.
Initially after the first missteps of the new owner, my intention was to stay on Twitter until it finally goes under. I didn't want to give up on the platform that allowed disenfranchised protesters to communicate, organise and helped free speech to prosper. Or, perhaps a more honest reason, I didn't want to give up on the platform where for years I had more followers and reach than on any other platforms combined.
In Luxembourg Twitter has been used by a small community, digital natives, journalists, and more and more politicians. It has never reached a critical mass compared to Facebook and Instagram, but over the last few years it has been used more and more by politicians to publish their truths and beliefs, with more than enough journalists ready to promote the tweets in an article or other publication.
However, over the last few weeks I have noticed a growing discontent when opening the app. Not about the constant bickering and discussions between politicians (I am accustomed to those 😉), but Twitter yet again came into focus for manipulating the public discourse and directing public opinion toward anti-democratic talking points.
The social media platform labelled the National Public Radio and the BBC as “state-affiliated media”, the same label it applies to the Russian propaganda media Russia Today. The Twitter algorithm down-ranks tweets about the Russian invasion in Ukraine. Meanwhile the former president of Russia is allowed to send out tweets that come dangerously close to calling for a genocide in Ukraine, with 13.7 million views and counting...
Twitter favours enragement over engagement, down-ranking credible sources by order of a megalomaniac billionaire man-child who likes to push controversial positions over civil discussions. This leaves the platform with little distinguishing features compared to Donald Trump's Truth Social, which (thankfully) is only available in the US at the moment.
I wouldn't join Donald Trump's platform, so why should I participate in Elon Musk's playground?
Leaving Twitter won't impact Elon Musk or the platform in any way, but it will allow me to finally get rid of that nagging little voice in my head every time I open the app. Because one thing is clear: I can't stand using Twitter anymore.