For some Twitter celebrities, the potential demise of the platform under Elon Musk's erratic stewardship is a serious problem Photo: AFP/File
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Celebs look for exit strategies from Twitter

21 Comments
By Yassine KHIRI and Eric RANDOLPH

It has become the common refrain of the moment on Twitter -- something along the lines of: "In case this is the end, please find me at..."

For some Twitter celebrities, particularly those working in politics and crypto-finance, the potential demise of the platform under Elon Musk's erratic stewardship is a serious problem.

"As a backup plan, follow me on Instagram @AOC - it's really me there," tweeted U.S. Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez to her 13.4 million followers last week.

But for many celebrities, it would not be such a great loss.

Many have long grown wary of the hate-filled invective that swamps Twitter, with pop idols like Selena Gomez, Charlie XCX and Shawn Mendes among those already on extended hiatus.

But Musk's scorched-Earth approach to management and reinstatement of Donald Trump risk making Twitter not just toxic -- but also uncool.

Fashionistas like Gigi Hadid and Balenciaga, or rock star Jack White, have been among the first to shutter their accounts since the billionaire took the reins.

"We really see Twitter becoming a taboo for celebrities in the coming month or so -- becoming a Truth Social-type environment where it's a controversial stance for celebrities to be on it," said Lauren Beeching, co-founder of Honest London, a PR firm that manages top-level celebrities and brands.

Beeching said her firm tested the waters with the Twitter account of an (unnamed) public figure and got immediate backlash from fans, criticizing them for still being on the platform.

"Of course, they were saying this on Twitter so there is some hypocrisy."

"But personally I do expect a massive walk-out. Twitter was always known as toxic but now it's controversial as well."

Actors and models can continue to feed their fanbases on Instagram and TikTok, but Twitter currently remains the easiest way to share breaking news, making it hard to replace for political discussions and sectors such as crypto-finance, which is firmly established on the platform.

That could quickly change, however.

"I'm eagerly trying out Mastodon, Farcaster, Lens and others," tweeted Vitalik Buterin, co-founder of the Ethereum blockchain, to his 4.6 million followers last week, adding: "Let the best socials win!"

"Audiences can move," Robin Coulet, director of French digital communication agency Conversationnel, told AFP. "When there were Facebook outages, we realized that internet users immediately went to another network."

For some niche users, however, replacing Twitter may be tricky.

French train driver Wilfried Demaret, alias "BB27000", has slowly amassed some 78,000 Twitter followers with his wry tales of life among the "shadow workers", as he calls them.

His writing works perfectly on Twitter, and he says he would feel uncomfortable pivoting to video on TikTok or elsewhere.

One option would be to go back to an older medium.

"If Twitter sinks, I'll save my stories to one day put out a book," he told AFP. "But I realize that's a huge job. When I think about copy-pasting every tweet one-by-one, I realize that I've written a lot!"

© 2022 AFP

©2022 GPlusMedia Inc.

21 Comments
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But Musk's scorched-Earth approach to management and reinstatement of Donald Trump risk making Twitter not just toxic -- but also uncool.

Musk's pivot right could be a lapse in judgement. It doesn't need to be TikTok or Instagram, but this does not bode well for the digital town square aspect he said he was trying to foster.

1 ( +6 / -5 )

I highly recommend the sleek and really cool Facebook. You can make sooooo many friends!

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Just like CBS, they will be back.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

You remember being at school and the naughty kids started wearing, for example, illuminous yellow, orange or green socks ? For the first few weeks it's just a handful of mates, over the next few months it snowballs into the never was / never will be cool kids wearing them. That is already endgame.

The following week the really weird, rich kid with no mates pitches up at school, bumping out of his chauffeur-driven car wearing the most massive mix/match combination of yellow & green socks. He feels like the ultimate edgelord.

That is Elon Musk.

But we all knew this. Using any social media apps, or most apps in general is to make a Faustian pact. It is a world run by those kids who were always last to get the joke, but so cloyingly desperate to keep up. This is the world of he who laughs last, laughs loudest.

The problem is the joke long stopped being funny, as any joke is when you have to explain it so many times. Wit has become disengenuity, satire has become abuse, intellect has become lolz.

Musk's Marketplace of ideas is a Mos Eisley of all the people who never quite got it, whose barometer of human understanding is so broken as to actually believe being conservative is cool. It never was and never will be. That is why it is called conservative

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Just leave. That’s a strategy.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

"But personally I do expect a massive walk-out. Twitter was always known as toxic but now it's controversial as well."

At some point Twitter policies meant they were collecting toxic users and chasing out productive ones because of the harassment, this is just much more obvious right now. Unfortunately this is something that is also happening in many other services and sites as well.

On the other hand it is interesting to see how the ActivityPub protocol is being integrated by other services, with a little luck this can mean that the protocol can become a replacement of twitter.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Or “mastodon”.

all the whiners who left Twitter tried to go over there.

soon the owner asked them to please leave if they were just going to report people they simply don’t like all day like they do on Twitter.

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

Just leave. That’s a strategy.

Does the same strategy work for right wing conspiracy fans who feel their voice isn’t being heard?

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Good, abandon the farce of that clown..

all the whiners who left Twitter tried to go over there.

It is OK to leave a social network that promotes the free expression of hate and fascism..

The real whiners are the ones who do not recognize Biden's election and you can find them in "Truth Social".. lol..

1 ( +5 / -4 )

Does the same strategy work for right wing conspiracy fans who feel their voice isn’t being heard?

Absolutely. But all voices are being heard now.

(but but Alex jones! Don’t care.)

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

It is OK to leave a social network that promotes the free expression of hate and fascism..

Then just leave, shouldn’t be this “will I or wont I” threats and drama of leaving and coming back. Just go.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

“Twitter is a private company and can do what they want. if you don’t like it, then build your own. “

too soon?

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

Absolutely. But all voices are being heard now.

“Freedom of speech, not freedom of reach”

’Shadowbanning’ is policy now.

(but but Alex jones! Don’t care.)

That’s odd. I thought you were all for free speech.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Just more hypocrisy from the right. It was cool to whine about twitter when they did it.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

Elon just found a whole closet storeroom full of “stay woke” T-shirts and posted a video of them all.

that ain’t “the right”.

The left could have at least brought their propaganda home with them when they got fired.

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

“Freedom of speech, not freedom of reach”

Yes you can say it but I have no responsibility to amplify it outside of the people who follow you.

as opposed to before when it was deleted if you said it and you were banned.

Or even people who followed you and wanted to hear everything you said were unable to be in your “reach”.

private company, owner explained why one person is banned and it’s reasonable. Not his speech but his actions in society caused the ban.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

Just wait for the narcissist to turn it into a flaming ruin.

That’s also a plan.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

Why is Musk's removal of sexual explicit material of minors overlooked? That head of online safety or whatever it is, Yoel Roth, went and 48 hours it all got cleared out: https://twitter.com/elizableu/status/1594137408186073089... really makes you think eh.

From what I've been hearing from users, Musk is making improvements for the average user and so who cares if these loser celebrities go. They only want a lectern to pontificate to their cults from uninterrupted. It's not like their isn't a block button and they can still lock replies to select accounts or groups of them...

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Are these the same "celebs" who said they'd leave the US when Trump won? And how many of them actually did? You could probably count them on one hand. These people are narcissists who will go wherever there are people who'll indulge their craving for attention, approval and perceived importance. If they think Twitter is where they'll get it, they'll either stay or come back soon enough if they do leave.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

LOL, and the fake news industry continues, first they said twitter would never sell to Musk, then they promoted the poison pill (against shareholders interest), then they said Musk can't afford it, then it 'sinked in', LOL ROTFL, now comes the spite and more fake news.

Google for yourself, remaining twitter engineers are very happy all the deadwood is finally gone, AND they've been rewarded with stocks in the company. Activities is at all time high, and from real people instead bots scammy bots. Let's not talk about transition to get more revenue from subs and less from advertisers either.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

These so called "Celebs" should also seriously consider exiting from "TikTok" - a CCP funded organisation, which has at it's main modus operandi the destruction of our Society.

Advertisers need to be careful where they advertise since being seen to advertise upon a platform that supports Genocide, or one that supports a Government that allows human organ trafficking from kids... etc.... then they should be named and shame, and held Legally responsible.

For any US Company, the platform they advertise upon should become something they think carefully about, especially following the Sandy Hook vs Alex Jones ruling - which... will now come after them... Clearly Alex Jones won't be able to pay his fine, but the Advertisers upon his platform - did so, with complete disregard to where they advertised, they may have well as advertised their wares upon a "Third Reich Hitler Youth Movement Web Site in Israel" for all they cared.... so it's time to deal with that.

Likewise, the Celebs advertising Crypto exchanges, when they clearly don't know what these things are, nor have any interest in them, other than the monies they're being paid to partake in the adverts, should be penalized.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

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