Scientists, disturbed by anti-science and far-right content, starting to leave Twitter

Nature reports that scientists are leaving Twitter. Overwhelmed by anti-science and far-right material, which is often shoved at them by the site's trending topics and other algorithmic feeds, it's just not for them anymore.

after much consideration and several experiences of fighting misinformation on climate change and COVID-19, Jarochowska closed her account, feeling that her reputation could be at risk if she kept using the platform. She felt that Twitter was promoting provocative discourse over facts and encouraging a type of controversy that "is not what scientists should be associated with", she says.

A survey conducted by Nature suggests that Jarochowska, now at Utrecht University in the Netherlands, is far from alone in curtailing her use of the platform. Since entrepreneur Elon Musk took control in October 2022, he has made a series of largely unpopular changes to Twitter, including cutting down on content moderation; ditching its 'blue-check' verification system in favour of one that grants paying members additional clout and privileges; charging money for access to data for research; limiting the number of tweets users can see; and abruptly changing the platform's name and familiar logo to simply 'X'. His management has left scientists reconsidering the value of X, and many seem to be leaving.

To get a better sense of how researchers are currently interacting with the site formerly known as Twitter, Nature reached out to more than 170,000 scientists who were, or still are, users; nearly 9,200 responded. More than half reported that they have reduced the time they spend on the platform in the past six months and just under 7% have stopped using it altogether. Roughly 46% have joined other social-media platforms, such as Mastodon, Bluesky, Threads and TikTok.

Once of the sadder aspects of this is that real scientists are essential in moderating pundit types who pose as scientific experts, but are really just into the aesthetic of science and read only so much as required for their agendas. Those guys will henceforth be Science Twitter.

Security/cryptography is fading fast there, I think? Pixel art and retro game dev too. But I wonder if this experience is an algorithmic reflection of read-only use on my part.