Jul 31, 2018

Growing argument: Tweets should be ephemeral

A person uses the Twitter app on an iPhone. Photo: Andrew Matthews/PA Images via Getty Images

On Friday, Wired's Emily Dreyfuss joined a growing chorus of voices advocating that we delete our tweets and use an app to automatically delete future posts.

The bottom line: Prominent figures in industries like Hollywood, sports, and even media increasingly find themselves embroiled in controversies over old tweets that are racist, sexist or homophobic coming back to haunt them.

What they're saying: "Increasingly, old tweets are being used as ammunition to get their owners fired or ruin their reputation by people with an ax to grind," Dreyfuss writes.

  • This is especially effective given that social media services, like Twitter, don't provide much context for individual posts, including the larger conversation they belong to and their intended audience.

Yes, but: Some argue that social media can be a helpful tool to uncover bigoted views held by public figures, and especially government officials — even if they posted those tweets years ago.

  • As Dreyfuss notes, CNN's Andrew Kaczynski, for example, has written about politicians' tweets that exposed views relevant to their positions. And if you peruse Twitter, you'll regularly see users resurfacing old tweets from Donald Trump that contradict his current stance on various issues.

Still: Online trolls can use just about any kind of tweet as a reason to harass a Twitter user, so deleting them regularly can be helpful protection. ("It’s so insane that in 2018 anyone keeps their tweets for more than a week!" recently tweeted The Atlantic's Taylor Lorenz, who also auto-deletes her posts.)

Go deeper

World coronavirus updates

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Axios Visuals

New Zealand has only eight active novel coronavirus cases and no COVID-19 patients in hospital after another day of zero new infections. However, the death toll rose to 22.

Zoom in: A top health official told a briefing a 96-year-old woman "was regarded to having recovered from COVID-19 at the time of her death, and COVID-19 is not recorded as the primary cause of her death on her death certificate." But it was decided to include her in the overall tally of deaths related to the virus.

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 10 p.m. ET: 5,690,951 — Total deaths: 355,575 — Total recoveries — 2,350,071Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 10 p.m. ET: 1,699,073 — Total deaths: 100,396 — Total recoveries: 391,508 — Total tested: 15,192,481Map.
  3. Public health: CDC issues guidelines for reopening officesFauci says data is "really quite evident" against hydroxychloroquine.
  4. States: California hospitals strained by patients in MexicoTexas Supreme Court blocks mail-in expansion to state voters.
  5. Business: MGM plans to reopen major Las Vegas resorts in June — African American business owners have seen less relief from PPP, Goldman Sachs says.
  6. Tech: AI will help in the pandemic — but it might not be in time for this one.
  7. World: EU proposes a massive pandemic rescue package.
  8. 1 🎶 thing: Local music venues get rocked by coronavirus.
  9. 🎧 Podcast: Trump vs. Twitter ... vs. Trump.
  10. What should I do? When you can be around others after contracting the coronavirus — Traveling, asthma, dishes, disinfectants and being contagiousMasks, lending books and self-isolatingExercise, laundry, what counts as soap — Pets, moving and personal healthAnswers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingHow to minimize your risk.
  11. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it, the right mask to wear.

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Updated 50 mins ago - Politics & Policy

U.S. coronavirus updates

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios. This graphic includes "probable deaths" that New York City began reporting on April 14.

More than 100,000 Americans have died of the coronavirus, according to data from Johns Hopkins — a milestone that puts the death toll far beyond some of the most tragic events in U.S. history.

By the numbers: Over 1.6 million have tested positive in the U.S. Nearly 354,000 Americans have recovered and over 15.1 million tests have been conducted. California became the fourth state with at least 100,000 reported cases of the coronavirus on Wednesday, along with Illinois, New Jersey and New York.