I stand with Twitter, not Angela Merkel
The ringtone on one of my smartphones is Tobe Nwigwe “Try Jesus.” I’m not exactly the first person who will back down from a fight — physically or verbally. I’ve lost a couple, left with an even result and won a few more. I don’t take a whole lot of pride in this; it just is what it is. But when it comes to squaring up verbally and debating, I’m almost always up for the challenge with anyone but MAGA supporters. I have long ago found out that you cannot argue with bigots; the mindset is already bottom of the barrel to begin with.
But I still don’t take too kindly to disrespect. And somehow, although I usually autoblock MAGA followers, I happened to respond to one verified user in the summer of 2020. He retweeted one of my comments, and his followers came out in droves. I spent more than an hour mainly responding to him and blocking his followers nonstop. I had a list of tasks to do and was relieved the dog napping near my feet didn’t realize lunchtime was near. But I just refused to stop responding.
Then somewhere near the two-hour mark, my entire Twitter timeline froze. I could not answer anyone. I couldn’t even see new replies, and my old replies were just gone. I refreshed the screen multiple times. No dice. It took me a few seconds to realize I was in Twitter Jail, the first time I’d ever been inside those bird cells since 2008. After trying to log in Incognito, from my tablet and my smartphone, I realized Twitter was basically telling me, “You’re doing too much. Go sit down somewhere.” I huffed and puffed, and then the dog woke up so I fed her. We went for a walk shortly after.
Several hours later, I was able to log back in. My timeline was wiped clean, as though I’d never had this argument in the first place, and all I could see was the last tweet before the rivalry with the white supremacist guy. I started slowly seeing a few retweets from people on my side — who’d captured my tweets before they were all deleted. By that time, I was bored of the entire debate and moved on.
I went back to my life outside of Twitter. I honestly cannot remember the name of the verified user I was arguing with. If Twitter would’ve shut down my account altogether, I can guarantee you I wouldn’t have given a damn — even though it’s my favorite social media platform besides Pinterest. Why? Because I’m a grown woman who was living her life before Twitter was founded in 2006. I can live a life outside of social media; I did it for two decades.
When I read that German Chancellor Angela Merkel found Trump being kicked off of Twitter to be problematic, my eyes could not stop rolling.
According to Associated Press, Merkel’s spokesman, Steffen Seibert, said the operators of social media platforms “bear great responsibility for political communication not being poisoned by hatred, by lies and by incitement to violence.” He went on to say people should “flag” hateful comments. But flagging didn’t work for four years, and there are a flood of race-related deaths to show people egging these users on or re-enacting them.
When a social media platform is a way for hundreds or thousands of horrendously racist people to communicate, meet up and share photos about rioting a federal building full of Congressional leaders —and leading to five deaths and one suicide — that’s the epitome of problematic. When people are scaling walls, breaking into offices, reading government mail, dragging police officers down stairs and not stopping until they get shot, that’s problematic. When the FBI is looking for a pipe bomber, that’s problematic.
When rioters are yanking masks off of other people’s faces and inexplicably walking around with podiums with shit-eating grins on their faces, that’s problematic. When grown-ups cannot do basic math, or are unable to prove that they passed history class and comprehend the popular and electoral college voting system, that’s of concern.
You know what’s not? Jack Patrick Dorsey stopping the leader of the clueless from typing 280 characters.
There is a priority list a mile long for what a United States president should be doing in his average day. The United States currently has a president who is ignoring 22,322,956 coronavirus infections and 373,167 deaths, and stopped going to COVID-19 briefing meetings altogether, but is trying to figure out how to tweet again. When we have more than 4 million people dropping out of the labor force and a 6.7 unemployment rate, that’s a problem. And if getting kicked off of Twitter is traumatic for any governmental leader, then citizens need not pay for his position; he clearly can afford to do it on his own.
Last time I checked, Brexit was still a hot-button issue. So I cannot imagine why a chancellor has time to pay attention to an unqualified, peculiarly jealous and petty man who somehow made his simple-minded way to the White House — nor why he cannot tweet anymore. But unless she wants to take on discussing the last four years that lead up to the Capitol riots, and the deaths and damage caused by the people who started those riots, I’d urge her to redirect her attention to why 80 percent of ICU beds (and 40K deaths) in Germany are occupied by COVID-19 patients and pay less attention to who is on Twitter. Because if someone who is not in any form of leadership can think of 40K other things she can do in Twitter Jail, world leaders should be able to prioritize this, too.
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