There Goes the Neighborhood #RestoreTheBlock

Twitter doesn’t care about marginalized people. Image

Usually such a statement would be facetious hyperbole to prove a point, but that is the point. Twitter, which has served as an open marketplace for the ideas of underrepresented folks has turned its back on the very people who give it life. And no, I do not mean celebrities bickering or reminding us how racist or classist they are. We, the people, who don’t have a voice anywhere else, are the ones turning Twitter into breaking news and actually using it to change the way society thinks and functions.

Of course privileged dudebros who aren’t subject to transphobic/racist/classist/ableist/misogynist stalking/harassment/abuse/doxxing

Image

are making up for all the good unintentionally created on Twitter and defaulting to the status quo. Rather than severing all possible communication with an account that is bothersome or abusive enough to require blocking in order to disengage. Instead, twitter basically just blinds users to abuse after they feel the need to block.

Meanwhile abusers can stalk with ease since there is nothing stopping them from following, favoriting or retweeting content. Now it’s easy for people who were already serial harassers to keep tabs on victims or rally others to join in on the harassment.

I’m not adding fuel to a minor, irrelevant inconvenience. I have witnessed or experienced all of these things. I have seen hundreds upon hundreds of people join in on verbal abuse campaigns against people who dared to exist & share while not hetero or cis or White or ablebodied or a man. Rape threats and menacing broadcasts from people who pieced together bits of information to divulge legal names or addresses aren’t uncommon at all.

I’d say just ask my friends who are fierce and brave and honest despite a world designed to break or erase them, but they’re vulnerable enough. Even my praise might endanger them. Yes. Danger. Some of my amazing friends aren’t safe in the real world just because of who they are and online harassment feeds into plenty violent hate crimes.

Adding insult to institutionalized injury, Twitter had the nerve to plug anti-bullying orgs on the same page declaring that nothing will stop abusers from stalking & harassing w/ ease The last thing marginalized communities need is policy enabling oppressive/abusive intrusion & surveillance. It didn’t work in real life.

There is so much emotional toll that online abuse has on folks. This is one of few places where isolated, marginalized people can bond, heal and share together. Just yesterday I joked that

My favorite people are hunted down by trolls who must all be tweeting from a giant internet cafe in the dimension from Hellraiser.I imagine the trolls are typing away in a hybrid of Starbucks, the Star Wars cantina & the Hellraiser universe.

But now Twitter is actively rewriting their code to enable them and their violating fuckery.

[tweet https://twitter.com/red3blog/status/411264541725454336] [tweet https://twitter.com/Shadilly/status/411270262513217536] [tweet https://twitter.com/samusclone/status/411253747369521152] [tweet https://twitter.com/hubbit/status/411290229295693824] [tweet https://twitter.com/davehogg/status/411272075806912514]

And the reason given? Jezebel complaints were too bothersome. Hey, if a few articles were inconvenient enough for your to impose on your greatest asset, a unique and creative community base, imagine how rape threats and stalking make us feel! I enjoy the time and freedom I experienced on twitter. I had a chance to grow my voice and meet amazing people but I can’t patronize a site with such blatantly disgusting practices.

 The idea that if I want to be free from stalking or abuse, I should have a locked account is victim-blaming. “Didn’t want to be followed  home or berated on the street? You should’ve stayed in the house.” The last thing marginalized people needed was to choose between erasure or facilitated abuse. We get enough of that bullshit offline.

I guess it’s a good thing I set up shop here since it may be the new permanent residence for my random thoughts and rants and pictures. While I get comfy in my new digital real estate, all I can do is rage against the machine I used to rage against the machine. 

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Posted on December 12, 2013, in Refined Rants, Social Justice and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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