Blue checkmarks are scrambling to get off Twitter in light of its recent purchase. Or so they say.
As the world watched the ‘will they, won’t they’ drama of Elon Musk’s bid to purchase Twitter, many prominent accounts on the site vowed to leave the social media platform if Musk did indeed complete the takeover.
It became the online equivalent of threatening to move to Canada – or elsewhere – if Trump won the presidency in 2016. Now that Musk’s purchase is complete, the great celebrity exodus of Twitter should be in our midst, but so far has been underwhelming.
Most of those few who have fled the platform have still kept their homes in the Twitter-verse as if they plan to slink back quietly a la Crosby, Stills, and Nash on Spotify.
— Libs of TikTok (@libsoftiktok) October 31, 2022
The list, curated by NBC, begins with “Grey’s Anatomy” creator Shonda Rhimes who tweeted to her almost two million followers that she wasn’t “hanging around for whatever Elon has planned,” offering her valediction.
Not hanging around for whatever Elon has planned. Bye.
— shonda rhimes (@shondarhimes) October 29, 2022
Grammy Award-winning singer/songwriter Sara Bareilles isn’t writing any love songs to Musk as she departs as well. The musician leaves with her head held high and ‘BLACK LIVES MATTER’ prominently in her bio.
I know that you are committed to social justice because you have BLM in your bio. Those whiny Iranian women fighting for their liberties can learn from your courage. Thank you. [I’ll retweet]
— Gad Saad (@GadSaad) October 31, 2022
Toni Braxton, another Grammy winner, announced she was leaving the platform due to an increase in hate speech, and it no longer being a safe space for herself or any other people of color.
I’m shocked and appalled at some of the “free speech” I’ve seen on this platform since its acquisition. Hate speech under the veil of “free speech” is unacceptable; therefore I am choosing to stay off Twitter as it is no longer a safe space for myself, my sons and other POC.
— Toni Braxton (@tonibraxton) October 29, 2022
There has been quite an increase in hate speech on the platform since the new ownership took the helm. The Network Contagion Research Institute reported that the use of the n-word rose 500% since Musk took over. Bloomberg reported that antisemitic posts had a significant increase as well. Evidence does point to this being a trolling campaign meant to test the limits of the company’s moderation. Musk retweeted a Twitter employee ensuring that the accounts responsible for this onslaught are inauthentic and the company is working to disable them.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) October 30, 2022
Musk has maintained his commitment to free speech but has assured investors and advertisers that he doesn’t intend for the site to become a “free-for-all hellscape.” He also clarified that as of yet, no changes to the company’s moderation have taken place while he awaits the convening of an internal council to make sweeping policy decisions. Musk’s plans for the social media platform are to honor the 1st amendment rights of its users.
By “free speech”, I simply mean that which matches the law.
I am against censorship that goes far beyond the law.
If people want less free speech, they will ask government to pass laws to that effect.
Therefore, going beyond the law is contrary to the will of the people.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) April 26, 2022
As for the alleged departures, only time will tell. The accounts of Braxton, Rhimes, and Bareilles are all still active but haven’t posted anything for several days while a scant few have deactivated their accounts.
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