BU School of Public Health drops off Twitter; enough's enough, dean says
The Boston School of Public Health this week said it will no longer post on or engage with Twitter now that it's now controlled by a transphobic promototer of stochastic violence against Anthony Fauci and other public-health figures.
Dr. Sandro Galea, the school's dean, writes that Elon Musk's statements now that he owns the platform far outweigh the good of an international platform for discussing and promoting public health.
As an academic community, we are committed to a vision of inclusive debate and free and open inquiry. However, we do not in our community tolerate speech that is demeaning and non-rebuttable, dangerous, or factually false. By way of one example, Musk’s tweet on Sunday is at least two of these, both demeaning and potentially dangerous. In the tweet, Musk mocks the importance of pronouns in respecting someone’s identity and humanity. He also incites opprobrium against a public health professional, Dr. Fauci, who has served the country well for decades through challenging times. Given the potential for actual violence to emerge from social media instigation, this tweet seems to me to be tantamount to endangering others.
While there is, of course, an argument to be made for staying on Twitter to rebut misinformation and call out hate speech, at this time the clearer imperative seems to be to take the unambiguous position that a space which amplifies such speech is a space that as a School, we will disengage from. It is sometimes the case, of course, that companies which provide essential services are nevertheless participating in questionable conduct or are guided by questionable leadership, and must be engaged with out of necessity, particularly when no one is willing to bear the cost of not doing so. However, Twitter is not essential, only free speech is. We can leave the former and continue embracing the latter. And that is what we will do.
He says the school has not deleted its account - nor has he deleted his personal one - in the hopes that some semblance of sanity might one day return to Twitter. Until then, though:
I am confident that we will be able to pivot to other platforms where we already have strong and growing presence (centrally, our email newsletter SPH This Week, Public Health Post, LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, press outreach, our website, as well as other emerging channels) to replace the communication we currently conduct on Twitter. On balance, the values that motivate our taking action here well warrant the short-term challenges we will need to overcome to fill the Twitter gap.
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Excellent. Now how about you hipsters with your too-cool Teslas
? At this point anyone with an ounce of decency should be ashamed to be seen in one.
Have a virtue signaling Tesla fire sale, I’ll gladly take one off your hands!
Everyone should sell their Teslas?
Really? Musk already has the money from ones that people own. Most people can't afford to buy a new car purely for virtue-signalling reasons. I'd agree if you'd said people shouldn't buy them, but let's be realistic.
How many Tesla's can VA Shiva own at one time?
And how pathetic Shiva must feel with his superior intellect and racist views (particularly toward fellow Indians) that he's not the chosen one?
Tesla is less hipster
Tesla is less hipster aesthetic and more tech-yuppie. Granted, there's not a clear dividing line between the two.
Have you driven a Ford lately?
Henry Ford and Anti-Semitism: A Complex Story
If Henry Ford is still in charge of the Ford Motor Company...
I think we'll have more to worry about than just the anti-semitism.
Kinda feels like we're at the beginning
of an avalanche away from Twitter. I'm sorely disappointed at its devolution into, as some wag put it, $8chan, and while I'm ready to disengage, I don't currently plan to delete my account.
After a couple of months or so, Twitter would release the account, and someone else could create an @mcslimjb account that, oh, I don't know, started saying nice things about Jon Taffer's new venture here.
Quit, but don't quit hard. Maybe something good will emerge from the rubble, though I hold out faint hope there. You still might want to keep squatting on your handle.
I'm doing the same thing
@MC Slim JB - I'm now on Mastodon but am not deleting my account for the same reasons.
Any recommended servers? Mainly I find ones that have either immense memberships or tiny ones....
just pick one to start
The choice of server only matters for a few reasons, and you can always move your account to a different server. A couple reasons:
FWIW I have accounts on mastodon.social, toot.community, and mastodon.sdf.org. Happy with all of them.
One doesn't need to delete their account
But you need to actually stop using Twitter to quit. People who say they quit twitter and then keep using the site aren't quitting. Musk and advertisers know that.
In the case of this BU school, it will be interesting to see if they un-quit Twitter in a few weeks or months much like most other "I'm quitting" Twitter and Facebook users.
It also doesn't count if an entity has several accounts and only stops using one of them. This BU school might be off twitter but the university isn't.
It doesn't count for BU, but it does for that school
I can assure you that the Dean of BU's school of public health has no control over what the rest of the university does. The question is whether they have the entities within that school stop using Twitter as well.
Kicking journalists off is likely to have more effect than other previous actions. I know some major accounts I follow have deleted all their past tweets, completely stopped using Twitter, and done everything except de-activate their accounts (to prevent their usernames being co-opted by others.)
Is what I'm calling it now.
The avalanche was so last week and the week before.
Hilarious. There's better to be found elsewhere.
Hope other schools follow their lead
I'd also like to see the schools and government agencies use other channels for announcements - in particular, Mastodon and/or Post.news.
Is an echo chamber of crazy. Let’s try not to aim THAT low.
Did somebody hurt you there?
Just like Twitter, it's what you make of it. I'm finding it a pretty cool place, now that there's a critical mass of Boston-area people on it (yes, I'm parochial that way).
I have only found Boston-related servers with less than 200 members... Am I missing something?
You're not limited to that server for content, though
One difference between Mastodon and other networks is that it doesn't support regular text searching. But it does support hashtags.
If you follow #boston, for example, you will get posts from other servers.
When you see interesting posts, you can then follow the people who write them. This then gets fed into a reading list on your server of posts by those folks.
Yes, it's a bit more convoluted than, say, Twitter or Facebook, which both sit on a single server farm, with centralized search and user directory, but you get used to it after a bit.
One advantage of a specialized server, say, better.boston, is that in addition to the reading list I mentioned above, there is another list, called "Local Timeline" that shows all the posts by people on that server, so you'd expect the timeline on better.boston to be by people in or near Boston (there's also a Federated Timeline, which shows posts from the reading lists of all the people on that server).
Where are the Boston-area people on Mastodon?
I'm now on an SFF-oriented server, but follow people on several others.
https://www.movetodon.org/ helps you transfer the list of people you're following, if they're findable on Mastodon. There are also some user groups you can join for special interests.
I wish things like T announcements would be added to Mastodon or Post.news, rather than only being findable on Twitter.
The search function is lacking. The only two ways to search are by username or hashtag. I've had some luck looking up disability-related hashtags that were useful on the other site, such as #NEISvoid.
Lots on better.boston
but that server has closed registration for the time being.
ETA: mastodon.boston exists, and looks to have reasonable server rules?
Knowing the admins
They're having growing pains. Hopefully they can reopen soon.
a number of bots repeat tweets on Mastodon
There are bots people have set up to repeat tweets on Mastodon. A couple MBTA related ones:
If you are into weather:
Couple of suggestions
Do a #search on #boston and see what and who pops up.
I have a list of about 1,000 mostly Boston-area folks at https://mastodon.online/@universalhub/following - unfortunately, it shows their icons and URLs but not their descriptions, so you don't know off the bat who to follow, but it might be a start.
In the tweet, Musk mocks the
Kinda hyprocritical to not refer to Musk by Prosecute/Fauci's chosen pronouns.
What are you doing about transphobic content such as this comment on this site?
There are 3-4 posters, including this one, who make transphobic remarks on just about every post mentioning trans folks. The accounts are still active and the comments are still up, with only a periodic comment from you saying "quit it already" but allowing the posters to keep making the same tired and deadly comments.
Also, the post in which you misgendered an ACLU staffer is still up and unchanged more than a month after it was pointed out.
You post decent content in general, often that can't be found anywhere else, but I can't in good faith recommend this site to my trans friends and family, since you post content suggesting you support safety of trans folks, but won't actually take action on your own site to make it as a safe place.
Well said, eeka.
And for those trolls that will immediately react to calls for better UHub moderation of transphobic rhetoric with “but free speech!” Musk’s idiotic management of Twitter recently (including banning journalists that criticize him) has demonstrated that such deflections not only misunderstand free speech but also are meant to serve as alibis for thin-skinned self-interested bigotry.
Potential mirroring the boy-man billionaire
Demanding the removal of people who do not follow the same belie is exactly what Musk did. Ironic.
Safe space is an interesting concept. What exactly does it mean? Obviously safe space is different in a home setting versus an online discussion forum. Physical harm can and we all know does happen in unsafe homes. Absolute safety from physical harm and nothing else. How does that translate to an online discussion?
Does safety mean no disagreeable voices, anywhere? Here? That everyone who offers thoughts and ideas here share the same beliefs? That is not safety. That is dangerous. It stops growth in the ability to standup to people who disagree and the ability to actually make a good argument that can persuade others.
Demanding that antithetical voices be muzzled here is comparable to Musk muzzling voices he disagrees with.
It's a given that growth needs a certain amount of safety. But growth also needs resistance. Strength in character, like strength of muscles, needs resistance, needs to have something to push against for the strength to develop.
The people who insist on knowing the end all and be all about life eventually disappear. Recently I realized that one particular regular who was a solid Trumper has not shown up at all (at least not under the former name). But the person gave ample opportunity hone debates skills. Their absurd claims, and sometimes outright bigotry gave ample opportunities to push back with intelligent, thoughtful - and sometimes purely emotional - rebuttals.
Plus if there were not nudniks why read the posts at? An echo chamber is limited in its ability to generate interest. That would be like eating matzo everyday. I like matzo. I like plain gefilte fish. Heck, I like plain tofu. But as a daily diet? Sometimes I need mustard on my matzo, horseradish with my gefilte fish and chili crisp with my tofu.
Calling for better moderation of transphobic
rhetoric and bigotry is in no way tantamount to limiting disagreement or opposing free speech. Quite the reverse: You might think through what Galea says more carefully:
It might be a fun intellectual challenge for you
but I assure you, the rest of us don't particularly enjoy arguing whether or not we should have the right to exist.
That’s a lot of words for saying that you wish to be allowed to keep making your transphobic comments.
It is not "hypocritical" to refuse to amplify transphobic or other bigotry, or implied anti-vax nonsense, because it's phrased as a joke.
Jokes have to be funny--and none of us is obliged to repeat other people's jokes, even funny ones.
There are places where you can let your inner transphobe out to your heart's content. Twitter's even free.
But not here.
I'm encouraging everyone to look into Post.
I believe they are still in beta with a waiting list, but I was processed very quickly. It's still pretty barren but it's quite functional and attractive, and seems to be the leading contender to replace Twitter when it crashes and burns under the coddled toddler who owns it
If what you care about is content, it's the place to be. In the past couple of weeks I've seen a flood of people I used to follow on Twitter move there.
Mastodon. Post. Instagram. TikTok.
Twitter is still valuable because it’s where people are.
If Post is “barren” as another person just noted, why should I bother?
Until ONE of those wannabes needs to emerge as a winner, Twitters where it’s at. I agree Musk has gone crazy and is an a-hole, but the product is still “the” place to consolidate information. (And Teslas still seem to be a really good car).
Because it isn't?
Because the people who provide the good content are deciding to not provide it on Twitter any more. Post is far from barren, believe me.
That was probably sort of true, up until a couple of weeks ago.
Where their priorities lie
Where their priorities lie explains our current state of public health.
You sound like one of those people who can
only do one thing at a time.
This, but unironically
The fact that our institutions have to spend important time combating misinformation on popular social media challenges is really hampering them from other work, and we should hope that in the future they won't have to keep this as a high priority.
The GOP war on science and education
Something during the second Bush term, the whole idea of “My ignorance is as valid as your facts” became commonplace. You have these sort of fake news sites that are really blogs with misinfo or links to other right wing or conspiracy blogs, and they get amplified in the right wing echo chambers of the net.
People who would believe Fauci created Covid, forced lock downs, profited off of the lockdowns and pandemic and was somehow responsible are crackpots and they, to be honest, should not be allowed to have their garbage toxic thoughts be spewed. This includes Rand Paul - a fake eye doctor whose ignorant and racist voters elect him.
Treating these people just as jokes and crazies is how you got Trump in office and how hate and lies became the norm.
I won’t claim to understand all the nuances of trans people - their struggles, etc - but they are people and my fellow Americans and they have the same rights a life liberty and happiness as anyone else. Musk buying Twitter has done nothing to help anyone and I hope it all collapses on itself.
Something during the second
We are entering a Golden Age as the internet provides easy access to the complete sum of mankind's knowledge.
Please do not drink bleach.
I encourage everyone to
I encourage everyone to please join the Better Boston Mastodon server!
It seems to be closed to new users now, because they have to figure out how to expand capacity to deal with the flood of users that have been flocking from the bird site of late.