Twitter and my design shop, Mule, used to be right across the hall from each other in a run-down shitbox of a building in San Francisco's SOMA district. We were friends with a lot of the original crew that built the platform. They wanted to build a tool that let people communicate with each other easily. They were a decent bunch of guys -- and that was the problem.
They were a bunch of guys. More accurately, they were a bunch of white guys. Those white guys, and I'll keep giving them the benefit of the doubt and say they did it with the best of intentions, designed the foundation of a platform that would later collapse under the weight of harassment, abuse, death threats, rape threats, doxxing, and the eventual takeover of the alt-right and their racist idiot pumpkin king. [...]
Twitter never built in a way to deal with harassment because none of the people designing it had ever been harassed, so it didn't come up. Twitter didn't build in a way to deal with threats because none of the people designing it had ever gotten a death threat. It didn't come up. Twitter didn't build in a way to deal with stalking because no one on the team had ever been stalked. It didn't come up. [...]
We designed and built platforms that undermined democracy across the world. We designed and built technology that is used to round up immigrants and refugees and put them in cages. We designed and built platforms that young, stupid, hateful men use to demean and shame women. We designed and built an entire industry that exploits the poor in order to make old rich men even richer.
If your reply is that we didn't design and build these things to be used this way, then all I can say is that you've done a shit job of designing them, because that is what they're being used for. These monsters are yours, regardless of what your intentions might have been. [...]
The machine we've built is odious. Not only can we not participate in its operation, nor passively participate, it's now on us to dismantle it. It was built on our watch and it needs to burn on our watch. When a platform we designed and built to connect people across the world is used to doxx the parents of murdered children, and the people who run it refuse to do anything about it; when they refuse to fix it because they don't see it as a problem; when they attempt to justify the profits with which they're lining their pockets as values, we need to burn it to the ground.
We Built A Broken Internet. Now We Need To Burn It To The Ground.