How it feels to survive Silicon Valley and a pandemic
Added 07-24-20 03:09:02pm EST - “It shouldn't feel like it took a pandemic to get Twitter to boot 7,000 QAnon accounts (and crack down on 150,000 more related to the violent conspiracy group), but it does. At least Twitter is doing harm mitigation around its role…” - Engadget.com
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It shouldn’t feel like it took a pandemic to get Twitter to boot 7,000 QAnon accounts (and crack down on 150,000 more related to the violent conspiracy group), but it does. At least Twitter is doing harm mitigation around its role in this interconnected disaster. Five months in, you’d think 145,000 American deaths would move platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube to ban virus “truther” content, but nah. Imagine the annihilative mindset it takes to act like nothing has changed.
Just five months ago, America’s largest security event, RSA Conference 2020, was in full swing at the Moscone Center in San Francisco. The 40,000 attendees were filling our hotels and bars, the city’s streets were crowded with Ubers and massive luxury buses ferrying well-off techies to work at places like Google, Twitter, Facebook, Airbnb, Yelp (or even Uber itself). Lime scooters and Lyft bikes were either scattering pedestrians off sidewalks or locked to trees and abandoned in curb cuts meant for wheelchairs.
If RSA’s attendees were even able to score an Airbnb, it was second to the tech companies who’d, for years, packed employees into expensive rentals that once were on the normal-person market. Companies whose fat salaries also pushed rents out of reach for locals. Both had ensured a steady flow of evictions among artists, writers, musicians, teachers, sex workers, people of color, the elderly, and restaurant workers. Or they became part of San Francisco’s thousands upon thousands of homeless (like the grocery cashiers and pizza servers I knew living in cars).
This was February, yet I was already too aware of COVID-19’s contagion to brave going to the RSA conference. My best friend, a hacker visiting for conference-related meetings, felt the same way. Instead, we went to Haight-Ashbury, essentially where I grew up, loving the gritty contrast of Haight street punks posing for Japanese tourists under the Ben and Jerry’s sign on that iconic corner of colorful Victorians.
At Japantown’s mall, she cautioned me to keep my phone clean with sterile wipes; while there we saw a man in a mask have a coughing fit that drove people away from him like dish soap dripped into a pan of oily water. She avoided RSA too, but caught covid when she got home. And in the following five months the world would come to a screeching halt and over half a million would be dead with no end in sight.
New by me, in which Facebook literally gives me a "both sides" comment about InfoWars https://t.co/N4F8C7H9vy— Violet Blue® (@violetblue) July 13, 2018
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