Nov 28, 2023
Why We’re Leaving Twitter
Photo by Courtney Clayton
by Joel McDonald, Chairperson
Every election season, I take note of businesses that allow campaign signs to be erected on their property. In particular, I take notice of businesses that, annually, only allow the display of Republican signs. With this knowledge, I then vote with my wallet. I don’t get my oil changed at the quick lube place down the street that proudly displayed a sign supporting the far-right’s efforts to recall selected school board members. I don’t dine anymore at what was one of my favorite seafood places after walking in one day and seeing what could only be described as a shrine to Trump.
My choice not to shop or dine at businesses that I know are supporting a party that continues to harmfully target the LGBT+ community, along with many others, to score cheap political points does not have a huge impact. But I sleep better at night knowing that a fraction of the dollar I might have spent at these establishments isn’t ending up in the owners’ pocket to potentially be used to support candidates who are dangerous to our community and society.
Last evening, the Executive Board of LGBT+ Democrats of Virginia made a similar choice. We chose to leave Twitter, now called X. We’ve been on the platform since 2010 and made over 800 posts. Over that time, we’ve shared the latest news impacting the LGBT+ community, the latest from the Democratic Party, announced endorsements of pro-equality Democrats, celebrated electoral victories, and more. It’s been a valuable tool for connecting with Democratic committees, candidates, organizations, and individuals.
Elon Musk bought Twitter for $44 billion in October last year and immediately started dismantling efforts to moderate the platform. Since that time, we’ve seen the rise of disinformation and hate. This has been especially true when posts have targeted the LGBT+ community. Should we be surprised? No. After all, Musk has used his platform to amplify anti-LGBT+ messages and conspiracy theories. How can we expect what little effort being made to moderate content on X would be focused on moderating the kinds of posts that X’s owner himself is making? In fact, GLAAD, a non-profit organization focused on LGBTQ advocacy and cultural change, published its 2023 Social Media Safety Index (SMSI) and Platform Scorecard and cited Twitter/X as not only being the worst major social media platform when it comes to LGBTQ+ safety but the only platform not to have made any improvement in LGBTQ+ safety between 2022 and 2023. X’s safety score declined.
By continuing to use Twitter/X, we tacitly endorse the ideology that has made the platform unsafe for the LGBT+ community, and many others who are often the targets of far-right discrimination and hate, that is being allowed to pervade. That’s why we’re leaving X.