Multiple local government entities, including the San Diego City Attorney’s Office, announced on Tuesday that they would be leaving Twitter due to the changes happening there in the wake of billionaire Elon Musk’s purchase of the company last week.
Last Thursday, the sale of Twitter for $44 billion to Musk was finalized. Immediately after finalization, removed many top executives, eliminated the Board, made the company private, and began unbanning many formerly banned users, including former President Donald Trump. In the following days, even more higher level employees have left the company, with Musk also announcing new plans to charge for verified user status. Regular users, meanwhile have had a mixed reaction to the changes, with many celebrating while others have bemoaned a return to what Twitter used to allow.
Some users have already left due to the change in ownership, including many celebrities. However, across the U.S., many local government entities have been pulling out of the social media due to the changes, specifically on Twitter allowing users to post messages and links that once led to a banning. In California, that exodus started with the San Diego City Attorney’s Office on Tuesday.
In a final tweet on Tuesday, City Attorney Mara Elliott’s office tweeted out that “Twitter is moving in a troubling direction — one that promotes hatred, violence, bullying, and false information. It is not a forum where users can feel respected or safe. We deserve better. For that reason, my office will no longer communicate using Twitter.
“Look for us on Instagram and continue to check out our website, which includes news releases, media interactions, and publicly issued legal opinions: https://sandiego.gov/cityattorney.”
On Wednesday, other departments and agencies across California also began mulling pulling out of Twitter and focusing on communicating through other social media sites Instagram and Facebook. Others are currently deciding on just a temporary, to see where the new Twitter goes.
Many insiders have said that agencies and departments that do this may wind up only hurting themselves instead.
“If you want to take a stand on something, then fine. But right now, all they are doing is denying information to the public through a readily available means,” said Los Angeles-based social media consultant Penny Ferguson to the Globe on Wednesday. “The website works just fine, as does Facebook and Instagram. But Twitter has by far the widest reach and tends to be the method of choice for information from younger people.”
“This seems like a foolhardy decision made within the moment rather than really thought about. Is Twitter more open to rougher tweets now? It seems like it. But this is still a critical tool and, honestly, the best way to fight back against anyone sending out false information or anything like that. If someone is saying something wrong about, say, a court case, they can clap back with not only an official reason on why they are wrong, but they can add in documents and proof about it.
“They may be doing something on principle, but they are also have a lot to lose by not being on there.”
As of Wednesday, other local departments are currently considering a departure from Twitter.
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