It has been five years since I was banned from Twitter.
For those with long memories, it has been five years since the ADL’s Center for Technology & Society opened in November 2017. It has been five years since the ADL seized control of Twitter, the rules were changed and the purges began a month later. My account was one of the first to go.
“If Twitter survives — and I fervently hope it does — its near-death experience has revealed something fundamental about our online lives: the digital spaces of civic life, the “public town square” as Mr. Musk deemed Twitter, have been privatized, to our collective detriment. Before Mr. Musk bought Twitter, its co-founder and former C.E.O. Jack Dorsey said of the platform that no one should own it, that it “wants to be a public good at a protocol level.” …
Suddenly, post-sale, the site felt like a family saying its goodbyes to a beloved but deeply problematic uncle. For a time, the endless fights and insults and conflict seemed to be replaced by warm memories of the funniest, most memorable moments together. Snark gave way to earnestness as people realized that something titanically important had been happening for years on the site that could never quite be replaced. “Say what you will about Elon’s management style,” the writer and podcast host Sam Adler-Bell joked, “but before he took over all you guys posted was ‘ugh another day on this hell site’ and now you’re all like ‘ah twitter the extraordinary place where I met all my best friends, started my career, had sex for the first time.’”
Whatever happens to Twitter, watching Mr. Musk’s reign over it should force us to rebuild the dream of the internet’s founders of a digital commons. Because we’ve had it before, we know we can make a place to connect and learn and argue that no one person owns. We can create a collective digital life that doesn’t depend on mining every nanosecond of our attention for profit.
The world’s most successful capitalist, by at least one measure, has made the most definitive case for rejecting private ownership of the public sphere that we’ve seen in a very long time.
Let that sink in.”
Chris Hayes and his whole class of East Coast PMCs are in mourning.
For five years, these people worked with the ADL and Twitter’s activist employees to censor the internet, silence their opposition and rig the national conversation. They rail against “the billionaire class” above them. They rail against the BadWhites in the Heartland who they see as below them. They were all fine with private ownership of the public sphere a year ago when they were lording over the place.
Nothing has changed at Twitter except Elon now seems bent on bursting their bubble. God forbid … the Democracy Defenders might have to share the public square with the public.