In a notable move, retired tech journalist Walt Mossberg made public his decision to deactivate his Twitter account, formerly known as X. His reasoning behind this action revolves around the platform’s recent acquisition by business magnate Elon Musk, which he believes has transformed Twitter into what he calls a “cesspool.”
The Esteemed Tech Journalist
Walt Mossberg is a well-known and respected figure in the United States tech writing industry. With a career that includes co-founding media outlets like Recode and AllThingsD, his opinions carry significant weight in the tech world. Mossberg shared his decision to sever ties with Twitter on Meta’s latest platform, Threads.
Mossberg’s discontent with Twitter under Musk’s ownership centers on Elon Musk’s legal threats against the Anti-Defamation League (ADL). Musk has publicly stated his intention to sue the ADL for approximately $22 billion, accusing the Jewish civil rights group of damaging the platform’s value by labeling him as antisemitic.
Twitter’s Transformation under Musk
Mossberg’s reduced engagement with Twitter followed Musk’s controversial reinstatement of several contentious accounts shortly after acquiring the platform. Among those accounts was media character Andrew Tate, who faced allegations of rape and human trafficking. Musk also added Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, known for promoting conspiracy theories on the platform.
In a Threads post, Walt Mossberg expressed his concerns, saying, “Under Elon Musk, Twitter has not only decided to stop blocking bigots and liars and pro-insurrectionists, it has actively welcomed them, with apparent support from Mr. Musk.” He explained that he had already reduced his Twitter activity by 90%. Still, Musk’s threat to ban and sue the ADL, in Mossberg’s view, was the tipping point.
Mossberg announced his intention to limit his social media presence to Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Threads, acknowledging their own shortcomings. He noted that he previously boycotted Meta due to privacy concerns but emphasized that Twitter, under Musk, had become a “cesspool” approaching the level of Truth Social, another controversial platform.
Walt Mossberg had previously distanced himself from Facebook in 2018, citing diverging values and concerns about the platform’s policies and actions. This time, Mossberg’s departure from Twitter stems from his apprehension that “antisemites and other haters” will rejoice in Elon Musk’s decision to challenge and sue the ADL.
ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt expressed deep concern over Elon Musk’s involvement in what he described as a “highly toxic, anti-Semitic campaign” on Twitter. Greenblatt emphasized that the critical issue was not the ADL or the threat of a lawsuit but the safety of the Jewish community in the face of escalating antisemitism. Meanwhile, no lawsuit has been filed by Musk at this point. Instead, he used Twitter to promote the hashtag #BantheADL, which gained popularity among the far-right Twitter community.
Walt Mossberg’s decision to leave Twitter reverberates loudly in the media industry due to his esteemed status and influential career. Before retiring from journalism in 2017, Mossberg was a prominent writer for The Wall Street Journal for over two decades. His quitting from Twitter amplifies the discussion surrounding the challenges faced by social media platforms and their responsibility in fostering healthy online discourse.