Thinking of parting ways with Twitter?  Here's the right way to do it

Thinking of parting ways with Twitter? Here’s the right way to do it

After a chaotic few weeks, it’s clear that Elon Musk intends to take Twitter in a direction that is at odds with the dominant cultures of the various users who call it home.

Musk has now begun reinstating high-profile users — including Donald Trump, Alex Jones, and Kanye West — who had been removed for repeatedly violating community standards.

This comes as a result of a mass exodus of Twitter employees, including thousands whom Musk summarily fired via email. The latest wave of layoffs came after Musk issued an ultimatum that employees would have to face “extremely harsh” working conditions (to fix the mess Musk caused).

All of this points to a very different experience for users who are now leaving the platform and moving to alternatives like Mastodon.

So what threats are we likely to see now? And how do you safely leave Twitter?

#TwitterShutDown

With so many senior employees leaving the company, users face the very real possibility that Twitter will experience significant and widespread outages in the coming weeks.

Already, enterprise software experts and Twitter insiders have been sounding the alarm that with the World Cup looming, the ensuing spike in traffic — and any increase in opportunistic malicious behavior — could be enough for Twitter to grind to a halt.

Aside from the website going dark, there is also a risk that user data could be breached in a cyber attack while the usual defenses are overridden. Twitter was subjected to a massive cyber attack in August this year. A hacker was able to extract the personal information, including phone numbers and email addresses, from 5.4 million users.

One might think that such scenarios are impossible. However, a common lore in the technology community is that the Internet is held together by chewing gum and duct tape.

The apps, platforms, and systems we interact with every day, especially those with audiences in the millions or billions, can appear sophisticated. But the truth is, we often ride on the edge of chaos.

Building and maintaining social software at scale is like building a boat out on the open water while being attacked by sharks. Keeping such software systems afloat requires developing teams that can work together to siphon off enough water while others reinforce the hull and some watch out for incoming threats.

To expand on the boat metaphor, Musk just fired the software engineers who knew where the nails and hammers were kept, the team tasked with deploying the shark bait, and the lookouts on the masts.

Can its already overworked and vulnerable workforce plug the holes fast enough to save the ship from sinking?

We’ll likely find out in the coming weeks. If Twitter manages to stay afloat, credit most likely goes to many of its now-ex-employees for building a robust system that an emergency crew can maintain.

Hate speech and misinformation are back

Despite Twitter’s claims that hate speech “tempered‘ our analysis suggests it’s on the rise. And we’re not the only researchers observing a rise in hate speech.

The chart below shows the number of tweets per hour containing hate speech over a two-week period. Using a peer-reviewed hate speech lexicon, we tracked the volume of 15 hateful terms and found a significant increase following the Musk acquisition.

Number of tweets containing hate speech.

Misinformation is also increasing. After Musk’s quick changes to the blue tick verification, the site descended into chaos with a spate of parody accounts and misleading tweets. In response, he issued another stream of consciousness political edict to fix the previous ones.

With reports that only one works across the Asia Pacific region Content moderator linksFalse and misleading content is likely to proliferate on Twitter – particularly in non-English speaking countries, which are particularly vulnerable to the damaging effects of unverified misinformation and disinformation.

If this all sounds like a recipe for disaster and you want out, what should you do?

Pack your bags

First, you may want to download an archive of your Twitter activity. This can be done by clicking Settings > Settings & Support > Settings & Privacy > Your Account > Download an archive of your data.

It may take several days for Twitter to create this archive and send it to you. And it can be up to several gigabytes depending on the level of activity.

Close the door

While you wait for your archive, you can start protecting your account. If your account was audiencenow could be a good time for a change protected.

In protected mode, your tweets are no longer searchable outside of the platform. Only your existing followers will see them on the platform.

If you plan to replace Twitter with another platform, you may want to signal this in your bio by including a note and your new username. But before you do that, consider if you might have problem followers who will try to follow you.

Cash

Once you have downloaded your Twitter archive, you can selectively delete any tweets from the platform as you wish. One of our colleagues, Philip Mai, has developed a free tool to help you with this step.

It’s also important to consider any direct messages (DMs) you have on the platform. These are more cumbersome and difficult to remove, but also likely more delicate.

You must remove each DM conversation individually by clicking and selecting to the right of the conversation thread Delete conversation. Note that this will only be deleted from your side. Any other member of a DM thread can still see your historical activity.

Park your account

For many users it is advisable to “park” their account instead of deactivating it completely. Parking means deleting most of your data, keeping your username, and having to log in every few months to keep it alive on the platform. This prevents other (possibly malicious) users from using your disabled username and impersonating you.

Parking means Twitter will store some details, including potentially sensitive data like your phone number and other bio-information you store. It also means that a return to the platform is not out of the question should circumstances improve.

If you choose to opt out, you should know that this does not mean that all of your data will necessarily be deleted from Twitter’s servers. In his Terms of Use, Twitter advises that some user information may be saved after deactivating the account. Once your account is gone, your old username will also be available to you.

Reinforce the locks

If you haven’t already, now is the time to enable two-factor authentication on your Twitter account. You can do this by clicking Settings > Security & Account Access > Security > Two-Factor Authentication. This helps protect your account from hacker attacks.

Additional password protection (found in the same menu above) is also a good idea, as is changing your password to something different from any other password you use online.

Once that’s done, all you have to do is sit back and make your way to the bird location.


#Thinking #parting #ways #Twitter #Heres

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