Anne Hidalgo, the Mayor of Paris, has become a prominent figure on Twitter, having amassed over 1.5 million followers since joining in 2009. Today, she denounced the platform, condemning it as a "gigantic global sewer" and signaling her departure from the platform.
In a scathing critique, Hidalgo expressed her disillusionment with the platform, criticizing it for devolving from a revolutionary tool of information dissemination into a vehicle for undermining democracy. She claims that Twitter has been complicit in fostering societal ills, from disinformation and harassment to racism and attacks on various groups, including scientists, women, and environmentalists.
From her announcement, which appeared in Le Monde:
Whether it be manipulation, disinformation, the fostering of hatred, harassment, anti-Semitism and open racism, or vicious attacks on scientists, climatologists, women, environmentalists, liberals and all those of good will who wish to engage in peaceful political debate in an increasingly complex world, the range of abuses is endless. Not to mention the daily external meddling in electoral processes, aimed at destabilizing our democracies and undermining their image and sovereignty.
Today, controversy, rumor and crude manipulation rule public debate, fueled by Twitter's algorithm, where the only thing that counts is the number of "likes". Facts are irrelevant.
This platform and its owner intentionally exacerbates tensions and conflicts.
Furthermore, it intentionally hinders the information needed to bring about the ecological and energy transformation we much need, in favor of climate protectionist arguments driven by fossil fuel interests and boundless greed for the planet. We can keep denying, clarifying and explaining, but the noise produced by a piece of misinformation will still dwarf the echo of a proven truth.
We must not deceive ourselves. We are dealing here with an utterly clear political project to push aside democracy and its values in favor of powerful private interests.