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#walkingaway

“Embrace the #walkaway movement, this is a sign that the American people still believe in healthy debate.” “When actor James Woods tweeted out the hashtag ‘#walkaway’ in late June, even the alt-right missed the enormity of what lay beneath it.” “I am kicking off the #walkaway campaign by releasing my video about why I am walking away from liberalism and the Democratic party.” “The #walkaway movement that began with a popular Facebbook video featuring a gay hairdresser in New York City explaining why he was leaving the Democratic Party has quickly morphed into a major force on social media and beyond.” “Are people really leaving the Democratic Party in droves this week? If the #walkaway movement is to be believed, yes.” “Democrats aren’t converting to the right wing in droves. But #walkaway doesn’t have to be true to go viral.” “Russian bots are back: #walkaway attack on Democrats is a likely Kremlin operation.” “Democrats want you to think the “#walkaway campaign is a right-wing propaganda effort propped up by a legion of Russian bots, but don’t you believe it.”

Ha ha, remember #walkaway? No? Yeah, well, it was back in July, which is epochs ago in this superfast zipsquealed political age: painfully obvious #yourslipisshowing sockpuppets with stock photo avatars all posting Manchurian confessionals about how they didn’t leave the Democrat party, nope, the Democrats done left them. Worth a slow blink, maybe, and then you block the puppets and move on, and nothing ever really came of it, beyond the slow small grinding of the friction of dealing with bullshit that wears away at all of us more and more, but everything’s moving so fast these days. Who has time to worry about that. —Anyway, it’s long since over and done. I don’t even think it’s still making much noise over to Twitter, but I’m not gonna bother to go find out.

I walked away from Twitter 36 hours ago.

I joined pretty much ten years ago, exactly: the Kid was fixing to come into the world, and enough people we knew were already on it that it seemed like a good idea, even if it didn’t seem like a good idea. Microblogging. I mean really. We have blogs and RSS and Google Reader, who needs microblogging?

185,409 tweets later.

And I got a lot out of it: some (hopefully) lifelong friendships, some wonderful opportunities, some kind words, a lot of stupidly hilarious jokes. I had some fun with the form.

—But lately I’ve been tweeting less; I’ve even been retweeting less; mostly what I’ve been doing is reading or seeing some frictious slop of doltish hateful terrible bullshit, and blinking, or sighing, or biting my tongue, and setting about reporting and blocking accounts by the handful, the dozen, the hundreds. —Every now and then a report would come back, something had been done to this one account, or that, but never really what, or why, and anyway who has time for followup, there’s more, even more, far more.

This is not a healthy relationship. —I mean, it’s more rewarding than CandyCrush, but so’s breathing.

Content that appears to violate Twitter’s rules appears over and over again in the hundreds of hours of video available on the accounts that Jones and InfoWars maintain on Twitter and Periscope, a livestreaming video service that Twitter owns. Jones has repeatedly degraded individuals of the Muslim faith. He has attacked people on the basis of gender identity. And he has engaged in the harassment of individuals.

CNN on Wednesday morning presented Twitter with examples of such content available on both the InfoWars and Jones account. A spokesperson at the time said the company had no comment beyond a statement CEO Jack Dorsey made on Tuesday in which he said neither Jones or InfoWars had “violated our rules” and other previous statements by the company. When asked if Twitter would be reviewing the videos and content CNN had asked about, the spokesperson declined to answer. On Thursday afternoon, after another request for comment, a different Twitter spokesperson notified CNN that the company was reviewing the content.

After this story published, the tweets included in this article were removed from Twitter. A Twitter spokesperson told CNN that Twitter had not removed the content, and that the company was still reviewing it. The Twitter spokesperson said that either Jones or someone with access to his accounts had likely removed the tweets. A spokesperson for Jones and InfoWars did not immediately respond for comment.

And it’s not (just) that; it’s not (just) choosing Sean Hannity’s radio show as the venue to explain themselves; it’s not (just) verifying straight-up Nazis and Proud Boys and following “newsworthy” bullies like Mike Cernovich—it’s all of that, and the litany of responses from people I know and follow and admire, who have been suspended, forced to delete tweets, harassed off the site—transwomen for speaking out against TERFs, Black women for speaking out against racism, sex workers for speaking up for themselves—

I mean, fuck free speech. I know whose side I’d rather be on.

(Of course, the horrific irony is so many of those folks can’t walk away—their very lives and livelihoods depend on the opportunities and friendships such instant, easy connection makes possible, despite the ever-ratcheting grind. —So much for being on their side.)

(And yet: until we do it, we won’t do it.)

—So, I don’t know. Blogging. RSS. Mastodon, maybe. I’ve downloaded an archive of 185,409 snippets of text; when I can find a reputable service that can wrestle with Twitter’s API and win, I’ll delete them from the site itself. Burn it to the ground. Walk away.

Start over.

“Know this: I love you all.”

  1. Scott Muldoon    Aug 10, 07:14 AM    #

    Hilariously, I only just joined The Birb myself a month ago or something, because it was where a significant amount of discussion was happening about my game. I’m finding it more open than Facebook when it comes to, for instance, diversity in games – but that’s probably a function of the “find it yourself” nature of FB networking, whereas Birb lets anybody find you at any moment. I don’t know how long I’ll last though.


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