Wednesday, August 30, 2023

It's not the price. It's the principle.

top: screenshot from April 2023; bottom: screenshot from August 2023


$8 per month is not a lot of money to spend on a subscription. However, the economics of that decision change when that fee is being paid to one of the richest people on Earth. The morality of the decision, or lack thereof, becomes startlingly apparent when the broligarch charging $8 per month has revealed himself to be openly in support of vile, disgusting, eugenicist, racist ideas.

I already had a clear idea of his character from the beginning. We don't call him Apartheid Clyde casually. But now that he's in the spotlight, it's become even more obvious. And people like him like to say that they're "just asking questions," or that those of us who would rather not be subjected to hate speech need to be exposed to ideas we disagree with. As if those ideas are new and not the same stale, old, decrepit, irrelevant ideas of racial differences that date back to at least 1492.

I thought things were bad before, but lately Twitter trolls have gotten extra vicious. Just in the past few days, I've seen a Black woman addressed as a slave and a Black man post about receiving pictures of George Floyd being murdered. This is the terminally online white supremacist's idea of debating. I also saw a white woman's post about contracting COVID-19 at an event met with cruel replies from random blue checkmark accounts wishing her ill. That is the terminally online misogynistic COVID-19 denier's idea of well wishes. Yet Apartheid Clyde wants to get rid of the block feature! It was only after Monica Lewinsky, of all people, tweeted at Twitter figurehead Linda Yaccarino that any official statement was made about it.

I actually started writing this post a few weeks ago. I could have published it then, but that would have been before the name change, or the announcement about getting rid of blocking, or Ronan Farrow's revelatory profile. I was going to write about how I've been rewatching The X-Files and the giant neon "X" on top of the Twitter headquarters reminded me of the way that Mulder summoned his informant, Mr. X, but now the sign is gone. Twitter, like so many ruined businesses before it, is subject to the capricious whims of an immature rich man who just can't leave well enough alone. 

Up until the end of last month, I had a comfortable routine for my social media usage. It was something I established back in 2012. First through Hootsuite and then through TweetDeck, I scheduled an average of 5 tweets per day that would post every 2 hours. I was able to have a continuous social media presence without having to be "too online." As horribly as the current owner of the site has behaved, I will not be paying $8 per month for the "privilege" of being able to continue to do this. Between his blatant racism and his plan to use Twitter as a source to train artificial intelligence, I absolutely refuse. At the same time, deleting my account is something I also refuse to do. Sunday was my 15 year anniversary of being on Twitter. (Clearly I was busy in August 2008 because I have multiple 15 year anniversaries this week!) I can't bring myself to get rid of 15 years of work just because of one petty tyrant. I will not respond impulsively to his impulsive behavior. Eventually, he'll either get bored with his new plaything, go live in outer space, or die. Perhaps after that they'll put someone sensible in charge. Until then, I'm tweeting less and threading more.

Related articles:

Huge Crowd of Gamers Boos Elon Musk for Ruining Twitter

Elon Musk’s Shadow Rule

Welcome to 'Zombie Twitter'

Elon Musk wants to remove headlines from news articles on X

A nonprofit tracks hate speech online. Elon Musk's X is suing them.

How Musk, Thiel, Zuckerberg, and Andreessen—Four Billionaire Techno-Oligarchs—Are Creating an Alternate, Autocratic Reality

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