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Is It Time To Delete Twitter?

Is the age of handing over personal information and creating content to help social media companies make money finally reached an apex?

Those are good questions to ask right now in light of some explosive allegations about Twitter security practices. If it’s really true that a good portion of Twitter accounts are actually bots, and if it’s also true that security breaches have exposed our information to hackers, it might be time to re-evaluate these platforms all over again. And it starts with a tough question: Is it time to delete Twitter? And possibly Facebook?

I’ve been debating this one for myself. On the one hand, I know social media apps have value. Over the last decade, I’ve been able to post links to my articles and communicate with readers in ways that seemed impossible before that.

I’ve scoured Twitter for breaking news and written many times about how people in places like the Ukraine have been able to post about injustices. We’ve had access to politicians and celebrities like never before. On Facebook, I’ve connected with countless friends, colleagues, and family over the years.

And yet.

When you think about this latest scandal with Twitter, it might remind you of another scandal. Or perhaps several. Facebook has had quite a long list, so it’s hard to keep track of them, with some experts even arguing that misinformation campaigns over the last couple of presidential elections seriously slanted the outcome.

I still remember seeing Facebook posts about Hilary Clinton’s declining health (she actually just had the flu) and hundreds of others.

And don’t get me started about all of the weird “health science” posts. Science is either going to save us all or kill us all, depending on who you follow on Twitter.

In many cases, it’s pretty easy to spot misinformation. Those who spread misinformation don’t usually include reputable links. JimBob’s blog is not reputable. He can barely spell. Unfortunately, the way this works is a little lopsided. If you want information to be slanted a certain way, all it takes is a post and a link (any link) about that slant to convince you. And social media is the perfect transport mechanism for those posts. It’s a wide open portal. There are no restrictions about being dumb.

One of the biggest problems on social media right now is that artificial intelligence can’t keep pace with this flow of misinformation, abuse, and coercion. We’re helpless. Support personnel at both Twitter and Facebook are fighting a losing battle, and in some ways, if the allegations about security practices are true, it almost makes sense. They lost the battle. When that happens, the only tactic that remains is denial and finger-pointing, obfuscation, and hiding the facts from authorities.

What’s really happening here is that the precarious business model (based on the attention economy, using us as pawns for advertising) is teetering. You look up at the sky and see this wobbling tower built on showing us ads (and not providing any other real value) and you want to run for the hills screaming in panic.

Unfortunately, the metaverse is yet another wobbling tower.

The allegations reveal even more about the foundation of this tower, that there isn’t much to hold it all together except duct tape and bandages.

I’m not there yet, but I’ve been wondering if it might be time to consider moving over to another social media tower. I just need to find one that isn’t teetering.

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