February 8, 2023
Chicago 12, Melborne City, USA

Twitter Isn’t a Town Square—It’s a Whole City


Monitor Hall A Weekly column Everything happening in it is dedicated Wired The world of culture, from movies to memes, from TV to Twitter.

Several years ago, in response to a piece of photo about the love of the Internet Carol, Someone posted a tweet claiming that “the year 2017 and WIRED just discovered gay Twitter.” Criticism is fair; We were probably a little late at the party, but it was also an indication that, on Twitter, the subgroups were virtually endless. Gay Twitter, Black Twitter, Trans Twitter, Feminist Twitter, Asian-American Twitter — they are all there, if you know where to look.

Since Elon Musk’s $ 44 billion Twitter takeover last week, users have been cautiously watching the deal, wondering if the stewardship of Musk’s platform could hurt those communities. “Being in charge of Elon Musk is the beginning of the end of #BlackTwitter,” he wrote Los Angeles Times. “Elon Musk once tweeted ‘pronoun sucking.’ What could be wrong with him owning Twitter? Asking them, his ownership could be a “nightmare” for LGBTQ + people.

In Bar On Twitter, author Erica D. Smith cited racism lawsuits against Tesla as a cause for concern (Twitter shopping has been kept out of the news cycle). More broadly, users think that Mask’s discussion of promoting free speech on the platform means restraining loose content, which can lead to harassment and punching. For Mask, freedom of speech is legal, but as my colleague Gilad Edelman points out, “allowing any legal speech means exposing Twitter to blatant racism, anti-Semitism, homophobia, advocacy of violence and worse.” If so Is not Musk’s intentions, he continued, are that Musk’s plan still looks like terrible news because “it means he spent almost zero time on free speech seriously before trying to buy Twitter in the name of free speech.”

Musk thinks, “Twitter de facto serves as a public town square,” and as such, it should be a place where people can speak their minds. Although this metaphor seems a bit off. Yes, for people like Kasturi it is a place of debate which they think is important for humanity; Millions of followers are often people who think that what they say is the most important thing But for the rest of Twitter – about 229 million daily users – it’s like a metropolis. People have neighborhoods where they stick; Sometimes they go out and talk to friends, sometimes they look out the window, sometimes they talk to strangers in the park. Most of these are not world-changing conversations that seem to want to mask, but they are just as important.

In Musk’s view, the opening of Twitter would encourage dialogue between people with different perspectives and foster an “effective democracy”. But if you pretend it’s a city, then Musk basically bought the mayoralty. (Not that it is ideal to have one person at the head of a city square.) The mayor is elected; There was no musk. He calls himself the leader of Twitter, and although he can expect to be on his “worst critic” platform.Because that’s what freedom of speech means“He’s unaware of the fact that the death threats in your citations are probably even more frightening when you’re not the richest man in the world. , Parlor, Truth Social, and other social media sites that have a broad definition of freedom of speech are already “obsessed with extremism, racism, abuse, violence, and terrorism,” Joe Mulhol, research director at Hope Knott, told WIRED this week. Which is already the most risky. No one wants to go out without headphones when they know someone is going to yell at them randomly. Those who do are usually the ones for whom there is no abuse.

They are also, perhaps, those who ignore harassment and hate speech, or are willing to go through it to continue participating. It’s not that Twitter isn’t already Cesspool. But everyone has a breaking point, and if members of a given community start donating at a higher rate, they rarely have to look at each other. Maybe Twitter didn’t deserve their insights in the first place. It has already been said that Twitter is a very valuable tool for its elite power users — businessmen, entertainers, journalists (hi!), Politicians — but it is not really about them. They will probably be better. People with less than a thousand followers are looking for a community on Twitter or trying to create one, less. They will be able to say whatever they want, but they can be shouted at more easily.


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