[T]he breaking point for me wasn’t the trolls themselves (if I have learned anything from the dark side of Twitter, it is how to feel nothing when a frog calls you a cunt) – it was the global repercussions of Twitter’s refusal to stop them. The white supremacist, anti-feminist, isolationist, transphobic “alt-right” movement has been beta-testing its propaganda and intimidation machine on marginalised Twitter communities for years now – how much hate speech will bystanders ignore? When will Twitter intervene and start protecting its users? – and discovered, to its leering delight, that the limit did not exist. No one cared. Twitter abuse was a grand-scale normalisation project, disseminating libel and disinformation, muddying long-held cultural givens such as “racism is bad” and “sexual assault is bad” and “lying is bad” and “authoritarianism is bad”, and ultimately greasing the wheels for Donald Trump’s ascendance to the US presidency. Twitter executives did nothing.
Lindy West on leaving Twitter.
I still use Twitter–it’s where most of the book writing community hangs out, for better or worse–but my posts there “auto-delete”1 after a month.
- Scare quotes for two reasons: firstly because they don’t delete themselves, I have a connected service that does it for me. And secondly because Twitter never really “deletes” anything; they’re removed from your timeline but are still floating around in the backend and can still be dug up by certain APIs. [↩]