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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

5 hours ago - World

Top general: U.S. losing time to deter China

Stanley McChrystal. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Stanley McChrystal, a top retired general and Biden adviser, tells Axios that "China's military capacity has risen much faster than people appreciate," and the U.S. is running out of time to counterbalance that in Asia and prevent a scenario such as it seizing Taiwan.

Why it matters: McChrystal, the former commander of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan, recently briefed the president-elect as part of his cabinet of diplomatic and national security advisers. President-elect Joe Biden is considering which Trump- or Obama-era approaches to keep or discard, and what new strategies to pursue.

Progressives shift focus from Biden's Cabinet to his policy agenda

Joe Biden giving remarks in Wilmington, Del., last month. Photo: Roberto Schmidt/AFP via Getty Images

Some progressives tell Axios they believe the window for influencing President-elect Joe Biden’s Cabinet selections has closed, and they’re shifting focus to policy — hoping to shape Biden's agenda even before he’s sworn in.

Why it matters: The left wing of the party often draws attention for its protests, petitions and tweets, but this deliberate move reflects a determination to move beyond some fights they won't win to engage with Biden strategically, and over the long term.

Dave Lawler, author of World
8 hours ago - World

Venezuela's predictable elections herald an uncertain future

The watchful eyes of Hugo Chávez on an election poster in Caracas. Photo: Cristian Hernandez/AFP via Getty

Venezuelans will go to the polls on Sunday, Nicolás Maduro will complete his takeover of the last opposition-held body, and much of the world will refuse to recognize the results.

The big picture: The U.S. and dozens of other countries have backed an opposition boycott of the National Assembly elections on the grounds that — given Maduro's tactics (like tying jobs and welfare benefits to voting), track record, and control of the National Electoral Council — they will be neither free nor fair.

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