It’s Official – We’re Breaking Up With X

Climate Nexus officially breaks up with X

This Valentine’s Day and Black History Month, we are officially breaking up with X/Twitter. Here’s why you should, too.

It’s been over a year since Elon Musk paid $44 billion to become the new owner of one of the most influential social media platforms on the planet. A lot has happened since then. Following his acquisition of X, formerly known as Twitter, the amount of hate speech and climate misinformation on the platform skyrocketed. Trust and Safety staff were forced out and extremist accounts were reinstated. By June of 2023, advertising revenue had dropped by 59% in response to advertisers’ waning confidence in the reliability of the platform. This trend continued throughout 2023, as major brands discovered their ads were appearing next to literal pro-Nazi content

According to the Center for Countering Digital Hate, one week after it reported 300 posts in violation of X’s policies on hate speech in September of 2023, 86.33% (259) of the 300 posts and 90.00% (90) of the 100 accounts remained active. These posts included content “promoting racist caricatures of Black people and Jewish people, denying the Holocaust or mocking victims of the Holocaust, and labeling Hitler as ‘A hero who will help secure a future for white children!’”

The last few months of hate-filled rhetoric reached an all-time culmination point when Musk, just two months after amplifying an antisemitic post, publicly endorsed another claiming that graduates of historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) have lower IQs. Musk’s recent racism and antisemitism have drawn the consternation and reproach of the White House no less. With no consistent policies on hate speech and climate misinformation, Musk’s X will no doubt continue to amplify fringe, extremist content at the expense of reliable information.

Despite these glaring flaws, however, the platform is still treated as the default social media site that elected officials, corporations, and journalists pay attention to for important messages. 

Graph of news consumption by social media site by Pew Research Center

Thankfully, groups like Indivisible are already paving the way, modeling what they are calling an “X-Last Strategy” and making these tools available so that other groups can follow suit no matter the size or quality of their following. The basic idea is simple: spend the time and effort establishing a presence on and crafting content for other platforms where you’d like to build an audience. Post to those platforms before publishing a perfunctory post to X for anyone still there. While no platform may ever perfectly replace X/Twitter, with the rise of Meta’s Instagram Threads and Jack Dorsey’s Bluesky opening its doors to the public, now is as good a time as any to begin exploring these emergent alternatives. 

On November 3rd, this grassroots movement of thousands dedicated to defeating Trump’s agenda decided to pull back its presence on the platform. “Since purchasing Twitter/X, Musk has uplifted accounts that target LGBTQ+ people for harassment, spread transphobia and antisemitism, re-verified violent white supremacists, and dabbled with dangerous ‘Great Replacement’ rhetoric.’”

What was once a tool that gave space to social movements like #BlackLivesMatter and voices like those of Black Twitter, is now an unsafe space for the Black community. Northeastern University Associate Professor in the School of Journalism Meredith Clark comments, “What Elon’s purchase of Twitter has successfully done is create a hostile environment for [Black] folks who were meeting in good faith, to connect and find community.” Indeed, to say X is dangerous and dysfunctional is putting it lightly, as an overwhelming amount of evidence has shown us.

For any organization professing to center racial equity, this Black History Month and the mass exodus of Black users from X remind us that where there are values, actions must follow. While it is Valentine’s Day, the day of love, we are also reminded that February marks a new lunar year and the beginning of Lent. Important months and moments like these are a time to reflect on the fact that freedom is not free. It is costly. Achieving transformative change requires hard work and sacrifice. It isn’t easy, but when has it ever been?

The practices and decisions that inform not only the work we do but how we do it are the same levers that drive change and transformation in what Equity in the Center calls the Race Equity Cycle. For more information on this, download their framework entitled Awake to Woke to Work®: Building a Race Equity Culture.

As Martin Luther King, Jr. stated, “The time is always right to do what is right.” At Climate Nexus, we want to be values-driven, not just policy or news-driven. Will you join us? 

A Step-by-Step Game Plan for Breaking Up With X

To give you a glimpse into what breaking up with X means for Climate Nexus’ social channels, below is a simple 10-step outline of our strategic game plan. Feel free to use this model as a blueprint and adjust it according to your group and community’s needs.

  • Step 1: Stop advertising on X (completed as of 2021)
  • Step 2: Sign up for Bluesky and Threads
  • Step 3: Announce our break-up with X to the world 
  • Step 4: Pledge to take the X-Last approach
  • Step 5: Revamp a social media strategy that includes growing a presence and monitoring engagement on other platforms
  • Step 6: Add Linktree to our X bio for followers to connect with us on other platforms
  • Step 7: Remove X icon from all email signatures and websites
  • Step 8: Stop posting on X other than to call out hate and dis/misinfo
  • Step 9: Post to X last on white label brands (if absolutely necessary)
  • Step 10: Adopt an official organization-wide X policy for onboarding

X-Last Social Media Strategy Guidance and Other Resources

Below is a list of resources to help you get started in developing your own X-Last social media strategy:

With love,
Climate Nexus