German organizations leave X: finally get out!

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Written By Maya Cantina

There is currently a wave of exits on X. Should we leave the platform to the rights now? The answer is simple: yes, the place is lost.

Large logo X shines on a roof, some illuminated windows of a tall building

“Str + X” is the keyboard shortcut for Delete. Might take X to heart Photo: Carlos Barria/males

And one less. Nowadays, anyone who clicks on the X-profile of the Austrian political scientist Natascha Strobl will receive an error message. The profile no longer exists. Strobl, who is mainly concerned with right-wing extremism and the New Right, has been threatened on stage for years.

Now she doesn’t seem to be able to handle it anymore. “I went through one of the worst shitstorms I’ve ever experienced on Twitter. They were mainly underground comments about my appearance, my voice and my psyche. Because these are three sensitive topics for me, I didn’t want to expose myself to them anymore,” she wrote on Bluesky.

The farewell to X, formerly Twitter, is progressing painfully slowly. Since Elon Musk took over, the end of the platform has been predicted – also in this newspaper. More and more private individuals, politicians and institutions have withdrawn. But X hasn’t really been given up yet. Some persist, others, like Strobl, signed off and then came back. But the arguments for retaining this space no longer count.

Twitter has never been a representative place for debate, but some found interesting political discussions and perspectives here that they couldn’t find in traditional media. But the platform has long since become unusable for this purpose. Useful features have been deprecated, the algorithms have changed, People who were concerned with moderation and safety were firedblocked right-wing extremist accounts retrieved.

Disinformation, hatred and incitement

Today, X is like a shark tank full of fascists and trolls. It is a place where Musk cuddles with the AfD and progressive voices are bullied and threatened. A space for disinformation, hatred and incitement. Every user, every click means more money and power for the multimillionaire, who generates attention with anti-Semitic conspiracy stories and racist, trans and misogynistic expressions. Why would you still stay there voluntarily?

A frequently heard argument is that the platform should not move to the right. You need to be there, counter all the right-wing garbage with left-wing content and stand with those who are threatened. But while solidarity with those in danger is good, X is as wrong as the place for it. The right wing took over, Musk wanted it that way. Those who oppose this have long since stopped getting their way. This may be difficult to accept, but there is nothing left to gain.

The plan to keep the place as a debate space is like convincing people not to drink alcohol in a Bavarian beer tent, arguing about human rights at the bar in a Nazi bar or discussing feminism at a Rammstein concert. It’s a wasted effort. Because the algorithms reward right-wing agitation and keep left-wing and progressive voices small.

Find new places

It would be much more important to make the place irrelevant. To do this, opinion makers from politics, NGOs and the media must first and foremost look for other communication and profiling instruments.

But which? So far, none of the many alternatives, from Mastodon to Bluesky to Threads, have prevailed. But perhaps it does not have to be a disadvantage if the debates do not concentrate on one platform, but take place in many places at the same time. Many of the voices that some people miss at X are already present in other places. And maybe one of the alternatives will one day prevail, that’s in everyone’s hands.

It is relevant that those whose job it is to monitor right-wing extremists and their activities journalistically and scientifically and to inform society about them, remain with an account on the platform. For everyone else it can only mean: get out! It’s only getting worse.

A few days ago, 49 German organizations, including Doctors of the World and Kindernothilfe, deactivated their accounts on the International Day Against Hate Speech. A step towards the irrelevance of the platform. May many follow the 49.

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