Last week, we saw the launch of yet another Twitter clone. This one came from Mark Zuckerberg’s Meta (formerly Facebook), and is Instagram compatible! It’s a gift nobody asked for.
Thanks to Elon Musk’s antics, which have included cozying up to far right voices and conspiracy theorists, Twitter has undeniably lost some of its cultural relevance as people abandon the platform. But while there are plenty of options—Mastodon, Post News, BlueSky, Spoutible, Counter Social, and now Threads, thus far, no alternative has emerged as a clear successor and so the platform hobbles onward.
The slow death of Twitter presents a problem heading into election season as Musk’s new algorithm favoring paid users, who largely comprise his increasingly right-wing fan base, and reliable information has become more difficult to access. The ingredients are there to favor right-wing candidates like Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who Musk hosted in a Twitter Space for his campaign launch.
Perhaps Twitter will never see a true replacement as the user base has fractured. Perhaps Musk’s takeover and destruction of the platform’s usefulness has exposed a deeply rooted issue in Americans’ reliance on social media and people will start looking elsewhere for their news (we know a good alternative!). Or maybe a new Twitter will emerge from the sea of competitors and Musk will have burned $44 billion to become one of America’s most notable (and foolish) villains.
Whatever happens, OptOut will continue to provide reliable information at your fingertips without the noise and distraction of social media. With that, please enjoy the following stories from the week, which we felt were important!
AUTHOR’S NOTE: You may have noticed the format of this newsletter has changed slightly. We will no longer be embedding link previews as we find it adds unnecessary length to the posts. We hope you prefer the new format!
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Technology—and the problems it causes—is the topic of the week. The Bristol Cable had an interesting read about the emerging role of AI in journalism—more specifically, how technology is giving rise to a “new breed of fake news.” The piece centers around a local news outlet which published false stories by made-up journalists.
Speaking of AI, The Markup had a great story about the hidden environmental costs of the new technology, which disproportionately hit certain regions over others. The piece contains an interview with Shaolei Ren, associate professor of computer science at University of California, Riverside, who has researched the water footprint of AI.
Grist also had a story about the environmental toll of AI that is worth reading. The article notes that due to the high energy demand, the technology actually contributes to rising emissions and fossil fuel production.
Demand For Justice
Status Coup was on the ground in Washington DC as more than 1,000 protesters from People’s Action demonstrated against America’s for-profit health care system and called for action to solve the climate crisis.
With the smoke from Canada’s wildfires still fresh in our minds, More Perfect Union put out an important video on how the U.S. can combat wildfires in the wake of climate changes through controlled burns.
The Georgia Recorder had a necessary story about the struggles faced by long COVID sufferers in the state. The very real post-viral condition is not yet fully understood but can be completely debilitating—a real disability. Yet, thanks to the widespread nature of the virus, many Americans are suffering quietly even as the country has seemingly moved on from the pandemic.
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Meanwhile, an explosive new report from The Intercept explored links between an anti-Putin Russian militia headed by Denis Kapustin and prominent American neo-Nazis and anti-trans figures.
The Majority Report did a segment about escalating violence and oppression by the Israeli government against Palestinians in the West Bank in a refugee camp in the city of Jenin. Amjad Iraqi, editor at 972 Magazine, joined Emma Vigeland to discuss the latest developments.
For more on Israel’s military actions in Jenin, Unicorn Riot also released a video. Be warned, however, there are graphic images.
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