Santa Clara County District Attorney Jeff Rosen announced Dec. 5 that he will deactivate his office’s Twitter account due to the recent rise in hate speech on the platform.
In a statement, Rosen called on other district attorneys around the country to leave Twitter in an effort to stand against racist and homophobic speech.
Research from the Center for Countering Digital Hate and the Anti-Defamation League found that the use of slurs against Black people, Jewish people and gay and transgender people spiked on the platform in the first full week after Tesla CEO Elon Musk became the owner of Twitter.
In addition, the ADL found a 61.3% increase in antisemitic tweets referencing “Jews or Judaism” during the two weeks following Musk’s takeover of Twitter in late October, compared to the two weeks prior.
Rosen also noted that Musk himself has posted tweets that include the Pepe the Frog meme, which is not explicitly antisemitic but is frequently used by online antisemites and the alt-right.
“Every American has a moral obligation to fight against hate speech. There are many ways to do that, large and small,” Rosen said. “Here’s one way: Quit Twitter. My Office—the largest prosecutor’s office in Northern California—is quitting Twitter.”
Rosen also cited Twitter lifting its ban on some 62,000 accounts that were previously banned for, among other things, misogyny, racism, transphobia and other hate speech.
Musk has argued in favor of this “general amnesty” for previously banned accounts in the name of free speech.
“Many of these handles were previously banned by Twitter because they spread hatred and bigotry,” Rosen said. “Now they are back. That is not free speech. It is a cynical marketing strategy.”
Rosen said his office’s account would be officially deactivated on Dec. 6. The office will maintain its Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/SantaClaraDA.
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