Quo vadis, Twitter? - A Statement on the current situation on Twitter


As you may know, the ownership of Twitter has changed. Since then, the dynamic has spun increasingly out of control on that social platform. The new owner first changes core moderation policies to allow "free speech" (which means more radicalism in a social network) while censoring everything he dislikes. Secondly, there is chaos. The new owner instates a "hardcore mode" where everyone who does not agree to work overtime and commits to him by submitting everything to the "new rule" gets fired. Developers, support staff, to even the platform's ethics department (!) got kicked out in thousands. Employees of Twitter leave the company in masses. Twitter is both in moral and brainpower decline.

We are on Twitter. We established quite a nice presence there over the years, with over 4500 followers reach and close friends, scientists, stakeholders, NGOs, project partners, and institutions in our network. Needless to say, building up our Twitter profile took hours and hours, which now seems in jeopardy. Twitter is also a place of science dissemination with a strong community in #CitizenScience and #ScienceCommunication (or #Scicomm as it is hashtagged). For the past years, Twitter was a vivid alternative to more profit-oriented, highly unethical, and more surveillance-based networks like Facebook, Instagram from Meta, and platforms like TikTok from China with their dubious practices.

The current chaos on Twitter and the danger of Twitter becoming a place of hate, radicalism, or, even worse, something different than a communication platform has led us to reduce our Twitter activity. We also had a small budget for promotion put in place on a monthly basis, which we have now stopped for the moment. This is a hard time for us as advocates for quality digital and online ethics, and the coming weeks will show if the new owner manages to get his mind together - or not. Let's hope Twitter does not sink like the Titanic, with Elon Musk fiddling on board, still pretending everything is fine and that icebergs do not exist.

Mastodon Citizen Science

For sure, we have also a Mastodon presence - follow up here:
We love Mastodon, even though it still lacks a range of tools, and sometimes the performance could be better. Hopefully, it has the potential to make a difference and gets more support in the publisher's tools cosmos.

Let's connect!

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Sunday, 21 April 2024

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