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Why Is Twitter So Toxic: Unmasking the Dark Side of X


Mar 22, 2024 9 mins read
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According to Statista, 41% of the people who use the internet in the United States experience online harassment. When you use Twitter, you will come across tweets that are offensive to you in your timeline. Also, users in multiple online forums claim this platform is becoming unusable daily. Many people share that the platform is harmful to their mental health. Is it human nature, or is it due to management? Why is Twitter so toxic?

Today’s article covers this topic to help you understand why people think Twitter has a content moderation problem.

Why Is Twitter So Toxic?: 4 Reasons Highlighting Issues With X

You need to look at Twitter as a whole to understand all the issues with this social media platform. Below are four reasons contributing to Twitter toxicity.

1. The New Ownership Let Go of Several Key Content Moderation Employees

When Elon Musk became the new owner of X, there was a significant upheaval in the platform’s workforce. This social network had multiple teams to handle civic integrity, trust, and safety. They hired contractors to help out with content moderation. Some employees’ job was to train X’s algorithms to control the spread of misinformation.

Researchers and activists could also work with X’s employees to provide them with the latest offensive terms and content updates. Although toxicity was rampant on this platform, its talented workforce was able to make genuine progress in fighting these issues.

However, the company had mass layoffs, significantly reducing the number of people handling these problems.

Algorithms need constant updates and supervision as toxic discourse changes frequently. Without adequate teams in place to improve the algorithm, the filters slowly start to become ineffective.

Hate speech, misinformation, disinformation, and other rule-breaking content will slip through the cracks. You’ll likely come across toxic content in your timeline for these reasons.

2. Replacing Twitter’s Legacy Verification for a Paid Subscription Service

Under Twitter’s legacy verification program, only notable, authentic, and active users can receive the iconic blue tick. However, this is no longer the case, as the new ownership replaced it with X Premium, formerly Twitter Blue.

This is a subscription service where you get exclusive features when you use X. Also, there is a verification process, after which you get the blue checkmark. In theory, this is a good practice, as the platform ensures accounts meet the following requirements:

  • They have a complete profile
  • They are active users on the platform.
  • They have a valid phone number, verified by Twitter.
  • There are no signs of users engaging in deceptive behavior.

However, in reality, things are a bit different. For instance, anyone can get the blue checkmark, provided they meet the requirements. Also, one of X Premium’s features boosts its subscribers’ replies to increase visibility.

This means people who are generally toxic can spread their content easily. Also, harmful posts tend to attract people who think along the same lines. As a result, when you come across such content, you’re likely to believe the platform is toxic.

3. Freedom of Speech Makes Content Moderation Challenging

Elon Musk is a big believer in freedom of speech. He also claimed it was one of the reasons for buying the platform from its co-founders. However, maintaining freedom of expression is no easy feat, especially when Twitter has over 619 million monthly active users.

Free speech on social media platforms means you will encounter content you disagree with. It may be offensive to you, but this may not be the case with others. Exposing yourself to diverse concepts and opinions enables you to discover the best ideas. This is, in theory, how democracy should function.

However, this isn’t the case regarding social media platforms. For starters, people who agree with each other tend to follow others who share similar opinions. Over time, these groups become echo chambers, preventing diverse ideas and concepts from spreading. 

As a result, users become polarized, and online discussions on Twitter become a hostile environment. You can generally see this play out in any post related to politics.

4. The Anonymous Nature of This Social Media Network

You don’t have to provide your real name when creating an account on X. The same is true when choosing a username for your profile. While Twitter asks you to provide a phone number for X Premium, you don’t have to go this route.

In other words, it is easy to create anonymous accounts. This makes people believe they can say anything in the virtual world as there won’t be any consequences.

Users don’t mind saying things they wouldn’t tell people face-to-face, as they can hide their identity. They become bold due to the lack of real-world repercussions, resulting in the use of aggressive language.

Is Social Media Harmful?: A Close Look at Life on the Digital Town Square

Is social media harmful? It is hard to say yes or no, as this topic is complex. For instance, Twitter enables you to connect with public figures, which is impossible on most platforms.

Similarly, it gives you a sense of connection, especially during a difficult time. Conversing with like-minded people can make you feel at home. It is also an excellent source for learning, as experts share invaluable information. The content you see on platforms like Twitter is second to none.

However, this doesn’t mean it doesn’t have its downsides. It can exacerbate the fear of missing out (FOMO), especially when you see what users are doing. Everyone seems to have the time of their lives and enjoy every moment. This can have a significant impact on your self-esteem.

The more you use social media, the less time you’ll have to spend with real people. This makes people feel isolated, even though they have thousands of online followers.

You may also feel inadequate, even though there’s nothing wrong. Users may post airbrushed images of themselves, which can cause people to be unnecessarily harsh on themselves. 

Similarly, you come across multiple posts where people you know are getting promotions. Due to this reason, you question what you’re doing with your life and feel insecure.

They are also hotspots for cyberbullying, as anyone can spread harmful rumors or fake content. This can cause permanent emotional damage, especially in teenagers.

Twitter to X: Is the Social Media Platform Toxic Under the New Ownership?

It is hard to say that the social media platform became toxic under the new ownership. For starters, people have always had issues with this platform for over a decade. You’ll find countless articles and posts talking about Twitter’s various problems.

According to Amnesty International’s study in 2018, this platform was toxic towards women. Remember, the platform was still under the hands of its co-founders during this period.

The difference between Twitter and X is that Elon Musk is quite transparent about what’s happening. Some people appreciate what he’s doing, while others are vehemently against it.

3 Tips to Avoid the Toxicity of Twitter

Twitter is still the place to check out for the latest updates on any niche. However, you still have to wade through toxic tweets on the platform to get to the good stuff. Below are three tips to avoid the harmful content on Twitter:

  1. Don’t engage with posts you don’t like: When you come across a post with a controversial take, don’t open the tweet to see its expanded view. You should also avoid interacting with such posts at all costs. If you don’t like what you see in the first 2 – 3 seconds, i.e., the introduction, scroll past it. The more time you spend reading and engaging with such posts, the more likely X’s algorithm will recommend similar content.
  2. Let the platform know which tweets you don’t find interesting: The social media network takes a while to understand your preferences. You can speed up this process by showing its algorithm what you don’t like. The three-dot button on the right side of every tweet has an option to indicate you don’t find it interesting. Do this a few times and see how it transforms your timeline.
  3. Use the mute and block feature: Twitter’s mute and block utility is the best way to deal with toxic users and content. When you find such posts, don’t only scroll past them. You should also include them in your mute and block list. Doing this ensures you never see the same or similar content again.

TweetDelete Can Remove Your Toxic Posts Before They Become a Problem

This article covers extensively the various factors contributing to toxicity on X. You also know how to deal with such content and prevent it from overwhelming your timeline.

At some point, you would have posted toxic content on Twitter. At the time of publishing, it seemed edgy or funny. Also, you were a lot younger, and your opinions were different. When you look back at your older posts, you can’t believe some of the things you said.

Luckily, TweetDelete can prevent such tweets from affecting your life in the real world. For starters, there’s a custom filter designed to find any post, regardless of how old it is. You can use the mass-delete tweets utility to remove multiple posts quickly.

Another option is to get a fresh start by removing every tweet from your profile, which this tool can do. Or, the auto-delete posts utility can target specific posts using the keywords and hashtags you provide. 

With tools like TweetDelete, you won’t ask yourself this question in the future — why is Twitter so toxic?

Become a member of TweetDelete and remove posts that no longer represent who you are today!


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