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With Musk Running the Show Influencers are Questioning if they Should Quit Twitter: “It’s Getting Ugly in Here”



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A community for Black tech workers was created by Pariss Chandler which eventually became the foundation for her own recruitment company.

Now she fears that it will fall apart with Twitter becoming a haven for racists and toxic speech with the show run by Elon Musk- a serial provocateur who indicated that he might loosen content rules. 

Now that Twitter is driving most of her business, Chandler sees no better option as she watches the uncertainty playing out. 

“Before Musk owned Twitter, in my opinion, Twitter was being developed as a more secure platform however recently the team has been dissolved. I am not aware of the things going on inside and I have kind of lost hope in that,” said Pariss Chandler, 31, founder of the jobs board and recruitment website- Black Tech Pipeline. 

Those qualms are weighing on a large proportion of people who have come to rely on Twitter- a relatively small but powerful platform that has emerged as a digital public square for all sorts of influencers, journalists, leaders, and other public figures, in these recent years. 

CEO of Tesla and SpaceX, Elon Musk took over Twitter for a $44 billion deal last week, making his unpredictable style felt immediately. 

Just a few days later, he tweeted a link to a story from a little-known news outlet that made a dubious claim about Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s husband being attacked in their California home. Although the link was soon deleted by him, it was a worrying start to his tenure for people who were already concerned about the spread of this disinformation online. 

Moreover, the intent to loosen the guardrails on hate speech has also been signaled by Musk who allowed former President Donald Trump and other banned commentators to return. His thought tampered after the deal closed, however, he pledged to form a “content moderation council” and not allow anyone who has been kicked off the platform to return until the procedures on how to do it are set up in place. 

A law professor and author with about a quarter million followers, Jennifer Taube, said on Sunday, “Guys, the situation is getting ugly in here. I am not really sure about my plan. Stay or go?”

For now, Taub is thinking of looking at the opportunity to “laugh, learn, and commiserate” with people across the world. But she will definitely leave the platform if it becomes a “cesspool of racism and anti-Semitism.”

She said, “now that figures are going down, she has recently lost 5,000 followers. If I’m not having fun anymore, then that might be the tipping point. There are too many people I think of blocking.”

The debate is specifically fraught for people of color who have used Twitter for years just to network and elevate their voices, while also tackling the toxicity on the platform. 

An internet scholar, Joan Donovan, explored the threat possessed by disinformation to democracy in her new book, “Meme Wars,” and said there is no surety if Twitter will remain a secure platform for civic discourse. Yet she has called networks built by people there invaluable to users, communities, and also to Musk. 

As per Donovan, “This is the reason why Musk invested his stakes in buying Twitter rather than just building his social network.”

In the first few hours of owning Twitter, several top Twitter executives were fired by Musk, including chief legal counsel Vijaya Gadde, who had seen content moderation and safety efforts of this platform around the world. Also, the board of directors is dissolved by him. It is on Friday that Twitter began with the widespread layoffs. 

Musk was immediately warned by European regulators about his duty to police illegal speech and obscenities under their digital privacy laws. The rules of the U.S. governing Twitter and its 238 million daily users are far laxer. However, there are still chances of advertisers, users, and perhaps lenders reining him in if rules are not first tightened by Congress.

An expert on regulatory policy at the University of Pennsylvania law school, Cary Coglianese said, “If the advertisers and the users go, it might be that marketplace of ideas sorts itself out.”

That could further leave Twitter to be another platform for extremists and conspiracy theorists – a concern prompting some people to urge their network of friends for staying, to counter those stories. 

Chandler said that she can only “walk on eggshells” and is planning to take a wait-and-see approach. 

She further added, “I’m personally going to stay on Twitter until there is a strong reason to quit the platform. I’m not aware of what the future holds and just hoping for a miracle. For now, I’m not going anywhere”.  


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