Get off Twitter… NOW!


Saba Nabaeighahroudi

MANY ERGRET-FUL TWEETMENTS: The contentious decisions made since Elon Musk’s acquisition of Twitter means it is time to leave.

Elon Musk’s latest catastrophic entrepreneurial venture in the acquisition of the social platform Twitter for $44 billion on Oct. 27 has been as entertaining as a can’t-look-away train wreck can be. Musk’s questionable leadership decisions in the weeks since have allowed trolls to run rampant and even unbanned former President Donald Trump. Although spectating Twitter as it falls apart at the seams provides quality entertainment, it’s time to consider leaving Twitter behind.

In the best of times, Twitter democratizes information and provides access to real-time updates on abuses of power. So-called “Twitter revolutions,” including the Arab Spring from 2009-12, are said to be the result of Twitter’s ability to unite dissidents online. Twitter also undeniably played a role in advancing the #MeToo and #BlackLivesMatter movements in the past decade, bringing sharp accountability to abuses by those in power.

The best of times is now far behind us. 

Barely a week after the acquisition, Musk unceremoniously laid off half of Twitter’s workforce—about 3,700 employees—including moderators of hate speech and misinformation.  This has emboldened anonymous individuals to saturate Twitter with racist tweets and slurs, such as the N-word, usage of which has increased by almost 500%, according to the Network Contagion Research Institute

Musk took his next step toward turning Twitter into the Wild West on Dec. 12 by disbanding the Trust and Safety Council, which advised Twitter on enforcing policies on content including hate speech, seemingly unconcerned by the Department of Homeland Security warnings of  a surge in antisemitism and misinformation running rampant on the platform that could lead to more violence in the months ahead.

The sudden layoff of highly qualified individuals and Musk’s ultimatum to either commit to the new “hardcore” workplace culture or leave has forced remaining employees to work longer hours and take on jobs once covered by much larger teams. Users have already noticed small bugs like mistimed notifications, proving that the current staffing size is not sustainable: These minor issues will be magnified into larger problems as time goes on.

More concerning is that the layoffs render Twitter more vulnerable to security breaches. An attacker already exploited a vulnerability to extract contact information data on 5.4 million Twitter users earlier this year. And with promises to turn Twitter profitable amid an exodus of more than a third of Twitter’s top 100 clients, concerns over the safety of user data shared with Twitter are understandable.

Turning Twitter profitable is a grave concern for Musk, who claimed on Nov. 11 that Twitter is losing $4 million a day. A slew of goofy ideas have followed, including the $8 verification checkmark gambit, which was quietly dropped after a few users created a host of fraudulent accounts, impersonating celebrities and even Musk himself. The check mark was relaunched Dec. 12, now in gold too!

“Please note that Twitter will do lots of dumb things in coming months,” Musk tweeted on Nov. 9. “We will keep what works & change what doesn’t.”

To protect your data and avoid any more “dumb things,” it’s probably best to leave Twitter.