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.)

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Debate night: Candidates' last face-off before Super Tuesday

Sanders, Biden, Klobuchar and Steyer in South Carolina on Feb. 25. Photo: Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images

Sen. Bernie Sanders wanted to keep his momentum after winning contests in New Hampshire and Nevada, while former Vice President Joe Biden hoped to keep his own campaign alive. The other five candidates were just trying to hang on.

What's happening: Seven contenders for the Democratic presidential nomination were in Charleston, South Carolina, for the tenth debate, just days before the South Carolina primary and a week before Super Tuesday. They spoke, sometimes over each other, about health care, Russian interference in the election, foreign policy the economy, gun control, marijuana, education, and race.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 38 mins ago - Politics & Policy

4 takeaways from the South Carolina debate

Former Vice President Joe Biden, right, makes a point during Tuesday's Democratic presidential debate, while Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders listens. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

The 10th Democratic debate was billed as the most consequential of the primary thus far, but Tuesday night's high-stakes affair was at times awkward and unfocused as moderators struggled to rein in candidates desperate to make one last splash before Saturday's primary in South Carolina and Super Tuesday.

The big picture: After cementing himself as the Democratic favorite with a sweeping win in Nevada, Sen. Bernie Sanders came under fire as the front-runner for the first time on the debate stage. Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who will be on the ballot for the first time next Tuesday, was a progressive foil once again, but he appeared more prepared after taking a drubbing at the Nevada debate.

Coronavirus spreads to Africa as U.S. soldier in South Korea tests positive

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's Health Ministry. Note: China numbers are for the mainland only and U.S. numbers include repatriated citizens.

A 23-year-old American soldier stationed at Camp Carroll in South Korea has tested positive to the novel coronavirus, as the outbreak spreads to more countries.

The big picture: COVID-19 has killed more than 2,700 people and infected over 80,000 others, mostly in mainland China. Public health officials confirmed Tuesday the U.S. has 57 people with the novel coronavirus, mostly those repatriated from the Diamond Princess cruise ship.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 2 hours ago - Health