When the news first broke of Elon Musk’s planned takeover of Twitter I had concerns.
My concerns were simple. A lot of change can be bad. Tumblr had always been quite happy with adult content, and then following a takeover – it was quickly banned.
But also, this is a person who gave no reassurances to the adult industry (or pretty much any other industry!) that they would have nothing to worry about.
Instead, a lot of talk around reinstating “free speech”.
I can understand the want for optimism. But, I’ve felt a lot of concerns have been waived away, and I don’t want things to end in panic if the platform is suddenly lost.
Some seem to feel that his talk about “free speech” would be good for the adult industry, although it ignores a big fact. Most sex work comes under ‘obscenity’ which is not protected by the first amendment.
We have no/little grounds of appeal on ‘free speech’ if an account is removed for deemed sexual content.
The first weeks of Musk’s reign as ‘chief twit’ has done little to ease my concerns.
As of yet the site hasn’t fallen into the sea (but there is time yet) and there appears to be no increase in deletion of sex workers.
However, any who eagerly tried to appeal any form of prior ban were met with the “indefinite suspension” email.
A clean slate has, of course, been given to awful humans such as Jordan Peterson.
The Trump Card
Musk also ran a poll of users as of whether Trumps account should be reinstated, this finished a narrow 51.8% in favour, so Musk tweets “The people have spoken. Trump will be reinstated.” setting a rather dangerous precedent. Even if Trump went on to say he saw no reason to return.
This opens a new level of concern that if Musk is attempting a “for the people” sleight for decisions, say a poll of “should we allow sex work accounts on Twitter at all” is not likely to go the way we expect. Sex Work accounts and followers make up circa 13% of the user base, which means we’d need to convince an awful lot of the remaining 87% to vote in favour.
This of course is a slight hypothetical scenario. However, this is a dangerous model in the sense he can also blame/use “the people” for his unpopular decisions.
Him choosing to reinstate Trump might be difficult, him saying he has the “will of the people” almost feels justified.
Chaos In Motion
The first weeks of his reign have been chaotic. Between large numbers of staff being sacked or quit, leaving some departments massively short. The whole “Blue tick” chaos. Assorted processes being switched off which has introduced many bugs (including some affecting 2FA, or downloading tweet history) it’s going to get worse before it gets better. If you use twitter to log in to sites like OnlyFans then any impact to the API there is going to stop you being able to log in. You can see why I might have concerns about twitter going down for knock on effects.
There are “teething problems” and then there is setting fires and trying to put them out.
The remaining staff are both depleted and working longer hours. While this might seem fine at first, this is likely to drain their well being, decreasing morale and leaving them open to more mistakes.
We also have the issue that most who could leave, have left, the remaining being those who couldn’t afford to leave or who have a visa tied to their employment there.
This is not a healthy company.
But he spoke about monetised content?
And some have pointed out that he did speak about permitting monetised content. That has gone very quiet and has passed the date it was supposed to launch.
While some might have got excited about that – we already have sites with monetised content and all the ups and downs they bring. Zero guarantees that if adult content was even permitted to be monetised that it could be any better. Twitter did consider this themselves, but abandoned the idea with all the problems it would bring. Twitter had concerns about monitoring for child porn and other illegal content.
Expect the Unexpected
At the minute. None of us know what he will do next.
For some that is exciting.
But really that should be worrying, if you rely on Twitter. Because even if YOU are fine, if others you interact with end up leaving (choice or otherwise) this automatically hurts you.
There are answers I don’t have. But, while you should never have all of your eggs in one basket (please tell me you don’t) there has never been a better time to look at alternative networks.
Just, really don’t trust any “twitter replacement” sites, we should have learnt by now that never works well.
Prepare for Contingency
At the minimum the three things you want to gather yourself are
– a website, your own site
– some form of ‘all my links’ sign post site which is updated with where you are
– a mailing list
It might be I’m worrying over nothing, and perhaps I’d like to think I am overreacting. Perhaps my twitter concerns are unfounded.
But, I don’t want to see anyone get burned and the time has never been better to audit yourself. Because if you over-rely on a site which might go at any moment, it rarely ends well.