Quitting Twitter easier said than done

PARIS (AFP) – Quit Twitter – that’s what some customers spooked by tech billionaire Elon Musk’s buy of the social platform say they plan to do.

But Twitter’s unparalleled viewers means that’s troublesome for a lot of who need their voice to be heard and affect the worldwide debate.

Since the announcement on Monday (April 25) that Twitter had accepted Mr Musk’s bid for the corporate some customers have declared their intention to go away Twitter over his plans to unfetter speech on the platform.

“It’s going to become an even more lawless hateful xenophobic, bigoted, misogynistic space,” English actress and activist Jameela Jamil tweeted to her million followers.

Promises to go Twitter-free trended beneath hashtags like #Go awayTwitter.

But many are sceptical.

“The people who say they are #leavingtwitter in India because @elonmusk bought it, are they same people who said they will leave India if @narendramodi becomes the PM. Twice. And NEVER did!” tweeted Indian creator and columnist Shefali Vaidya to his 665,000 followers.

In mid-April, French journalist Nicolas Henin (52,000 followers) vowed he’d stop the platform if Mr Musk buys Twitter.

“I still haven’t taken a firm decision,” he informed AFP on Tuesday.

“For one, there’s the impression of deserting and then there’s the lack of an alternative.”

No different platform can simply change Twitter for individuals who depart.

“What makes Twitter is the community, its 436 million users,” said Ms Leila Morch, Research Project Coordinator at Stanford University’s Content Policy and Society Lab.

In phrases of recognition, Discord with its 300 million customers is the closest to Twitter. It helps on-line communities, however in distinction to Twitter it isn’t an open platform: Entry into every group requires an invite.

Mastodon, launched in 2016, is a Twitter clone with out promoting and whose supply code is open.

However the platform’s server is way smaller and it solely has 670,000 customers.

Other platforms like Getter, Parler and Truth Social, which Donald Trump based after being banned from Twitter in January 2021, cater to the US proper wing.

American conservatives have largely welcomed Mr Musk’s bid for Twitter.

Tumblr, one other social community and micro-blogging web site that has been round since 2007 however fallen in recognition, might turn into a refuge for individuals who abandon Twitter.

“Twitter attracts the media world, a mix of journalists and people, the world of political and economic decision-makers” in addition to influencers”, said sociologist Dominique Boullier at Sciences Po college in Paris.

While these “opinion makers” symbolize solely a minority of customers they’re those who “attract the general public” and “cause things to go viral”, he said.

Mr Boullier believes Mr Musk desires to serve “people fond of shocking, controversial and alternative news” who’ve been left missing since Trump’s Twitter banishment.

For M Morch, Musk’s contested takeover of Twitter has one constructive component: “People are realising that content moderation is political and that poses questions for society.”

Twitter must adjust to Europe’s new legal guidelines curbing the ability of massive tech, a senior official said Tuesday.

“Whether on online harassment, the sale of counterfeit products… child pornography, or calls for acts of terrorism… Twitter will have to adapt to our European regulations which do not exist in the United States,” EU commissioner Thierry Breton informed AFP.

He was referring to the brand new Digital Services Act, a significant piece of EU laws making certain harder penalties when platforms host banned content material.

But for Ms Morch, the query is broader.

“Content moderation provides tools, but it is a debate on free speech that is needed: What do we want and don’t want to see online?” she said.

She drew an analogy to how sexual aggression is outlined legally in the actual world.

“That took years of research and putting in place rules and, today, people agree. But we haven’t done that online. We have asked: ‘What is freedom of expression. What are the limits?’”

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