Noted Writer Quits Twitter
Author of "Shrill" and plus size advocate Lindy West quit her much-read Twitter account this year. In an article for The Guardian, West explained why she deactivated her Twitter account. There's only so much trolling a person can take: Twitter, for the past five years, has been a machine where I put in unpaid work and tension headaches come out. I write jokes there for free. I post political commentary for free. I answer questions for free. I teach feminism 101 for free. Off Twitter, these are all things by which I make my living – in fact, they comprise the totality of my income. But on Twitter, I do them pro bono and, in return, I am micromanaged in real time by strangers; neo-Nazis mine my personal life for vulnerabilities to exploit; and men enjoy unfettered, direct access to my brain so they can inform me, for the thousandth time, that they would gladly rape me if I weren’t so fat. However, West held her own, and owned, many of the trolls who dared crossed her path. The real reason? A social media outlet with a seemingly passive outlook on hate speech. The white supremacist, anti-feminist, isolationist, transphobic “alt-right” movement has been beta-testing its propaganda and intimidation machine on marginalised Twitter communities for years now – how much hate speech will bystanders ignore? When will Twitter intervene and start protecting its users? – and discovered, to its leering delight, that the limit did not exist. No one cared. West's voice will continue to be heard with more articles and (we hope) another book. Expect other strong voices to go silent on Twitter in protest until the company takes a tougher stance on trolls.