After being taken over by Elon Musk, Twitter has become a toxic platform for the LGBTQ+ community

Just one day after Elon Musk reactivated his account, Republican Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene tweeted calling me a “communist nanny.” It probably had to do with the fact that I was a Democrat elected from San Francisco, Jewish, and gay.

In her tweet, Marjorie Taylor Greene also promoted a proposed federal law to ban gender-affirming treatments for transgender youth and make it impossible for transgender adults to access such care. In the past, every time Marjorie Taylor Greene spoke to me in homophobic or transphobic terms, I got a little more abuse on social media, but this time the increase exceeded anything I had ever known. It became especially violent after the surge Q club massacre. A rise attributed less to Marjorie Taylor Greene than to Elon Musk, the new owner of Twitter.

After Elon Musk took over Twitter, he brought back some infamous personalities who were banned from the platform. Shortly before reactivating Marjorie Taylor Greene’s account, she also activated the accounts of Donald Trump and Kanye West. (The latter recently made headlines for using anti-Semitic language.) Elon Musk also reinstated the accounts of Project Veritas, which engaged in serious doxing, and James Lindsey, who popularized the hashtag “Ok Groomer” (a homophobic slur that can be translated into French as “Ok Groomer”), Joe McCarthy believed. that [un ancien sénateur républicain qui s’est fait connaître pour un discours sur les “ennemis de l’intérieur” dans lequel il affirme que “le Département d’Etat des Etats-Unis est infesté par des membres du Parti communiste”, NDLR] didn’t go far enough and insulted a Jew as “Dr. Lampshade” (a reference to the Holocaust myth that Jewish skin was used to make lampshades). The new head of Twitter also activated the account of Andrew Tate. The latter said the rape victims were responsible for the attack.

Now, Elon Musk is promising to reactivate a suspended account if it doesn’t break the law or blatantly spam, based on a Twitter “request” by extremist 4chan users. So, it can allow you to put together a pretty diverse team. For example, I think of white supremacist Nick Fuentes who said, “If only the Jews would be nice to people like us, because otherwise everything that comes from it will be uglier and worse than them.” Or Milo Yiannopoulos, who works closely with Nazi leaders and white racists, gives a Nazi salute, and recently posted a message about “Jewish powers that hate Jesus, hate our country, and treat us all as disposable cattle for their whims.” “holy” book. There are also an endless number of lesser-known online rebels, fanatics and stalkers. Given that Donald Trump broke the law by inciting people to lead violent insurrection, Elon Musk’s threat to ostracize anyone who “breaks the law” seems pretty limited.


With the collapse of Twitter, traces of our history may disappear

Although Twitter is a small platform in the middle of the ocean of social networks, its evolution is still quite significant. Twitter is an incredibly important platform for our democracy. It is a space where ideas and information germinate, spread and emerge, resulting in wider acceptance by the media and the public. Whether it’s politics, media, science, health, history, or whatever, Twitter has become the center of public debate in the United States.

Make no mistake: restoring previously mentioned accounts will make Twitter even more toxic than before. These people who were once banned from Twitter are not just harmless trolls. Many of them have been involved in aggressive campaigns of anti-Semitic, homophobic, transphobic or racist persecution. They have no qualms about revealing personal information about others in the public square, purveyors of misinformation that promotes violence or promotes lies about vaccines. They have incited and sometimes continue the rebellion. Their restoration only frees them from their past behavior. It validates and reinforces their rhetoric as pillars of what Twitter will become.

This reintegration effort, led by Elon Musk, stems from his fierce belief that he is a “free speech absolutist.” Leaving aside the fact that it bans many progressive accounts that have the misfortune of parodying it—parody is one of the most powerful and fundamental forms of free speech—its absolutism on freedom of expression is essentially about freedom of hate speech, freedom of persecution. behavior and incitement to violence. Add to that mass layoffs and departures within the teams responsible for moderating content on Twitter, and the platform will quickly become the hell that Elon Musk wants to avoid.

If Twitter becomes a far-right cesspool — even if it’s just a watered-down version of what can be found on 4chan — its role as a democratizing host of global conversations will quickly collapse because of Nick Fuentes or awesome people who don’t think like Nick Fuentes. other white supremacists and nazis will run off the platform.

I have received thousands of death threats in recent years, most of them on social media. These threats were in response to my work promoting civil rights for the overwhelmingly LGBTQ+ community, as well as my work to expand access to vaccines.

The threats and harassment began when he drafted legislation to repeal several felonies (crimes that do not apply to people with other serious communicable diseases) that singled out people living with HIV. Threats and harassment erupted on social media as she drafted a bill backed by law enforcement, civil rights organizations and victims’ groups to end discrimination against LGBTQ+ youth on the California Sex Offender Registry. This law caused waves after a smear campaign by QAnon that described me as a “pedophile” and a “boyfriend”. The threats and harassment started again when I drafted a bill to allow transgender children and their families to seek asylum in California if they were prosecuted in states like Texas or Alabama that wanted to ban gender-adaptive treatment for transgender youth. vaccinating teenagers without their parents’ consent to protect their health.

The threats and harassment I have been subjected to on social media have been extreme. I was doxxx. They have repeatedly threatened to cut off my head and rape me. They told me that they would come and find me with a gun. I received a letter with a bomb threat, which caused the police to search my house with the help of a dog. A number of threats have resulted in prosecution and conviction of the perpetrators. For the first time in my life, I had to testify in front of a jury – against a person who accused me of existing.

While receiving these hate and death threats, I learned a lot about social media and how they handle it. YouTube has been slow to respond to threats and harassment. Meta (mainly Instagram, but also a bit of Facebook) was quite slow at first, but over time things got better. Twitter has been the most reactive and the most proactive, but I am convinced that in the future the platform will not be better than others. On the contrary, I think it will be worse for people like me.

But as bad as my experience was, I am one of the lucky ones. I am privileged because I have the ability to defend myself. As I have done here through this forum, I have a report and work that allows me to highlight this issue.


After being taken over by Elon Musk, Twitter lost about a million users

The same cannot be said for the vast majority of people who are threatened, stalked, harassed or have their personal information posted on Twitter or other social networks. and even violent stalkers, Nazis and white supremacists to return to the platform.

School board members, teachers and librarians have been targeted by extremists who claim these educators are “preparing” their children to be transgender or teaching them critical race theory. Email addresses of progressive activists are posted online, along with family photos of community leaders. Public health workers are harassed and threatened by anti-vax and anti-choice activists.

For every public figure like me who is harassed and threatened, there are thousands of people who suffer in silence.

Elon Musk owns Twitter, and he has the power to shape and change the social network. However, Twitter is more than a personal product. It is essential to our democracy and public discourse. It is important to know if people are safe on the platform. Elon Musk lives in an ivory tower. He is actually the richest man in the world. He has access to every resource imaginable – security, investigators or whatever he needs.

Most of us do not have such resources. As Elon Musk plays his chaotic game on Twitter, we suffer the consequences.

Tribune by Scott Wiener, translated from English by Kozi Pastakia. Scott Wiener is a California state senator representing San Francisco and North San Mateo County.


Does Twitter have a few more weeks to live?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *