How they're being used to fuel AI chatbots, and what you can do about it.

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Deleting 33,000 tweets is tricky business. If you want to do it for free, you can choose to tweet by tweet. Get really good at it, and you might end up deleting a tweet every six seconds. You can do all 33,000 excises in just two days, with no breaks for sustenance, sleep, or to use the bathroom. Alternatively, you can find some code on Reddit that purports to do this for you. When browsing on X you have to open the source code of a web page, the site once called Twitter, then paste in a large block of code. However, the developer warns that doing so may violate the platform's terms of service and may result in your account being banned. You only want to lose your old tweets, not the ability. To Tweet

After all, you'll fork over and pay a few bucks—perhaps $7 a month—for a service like the aptly named Tweet Delete. You'll need a copy of all your Twitter data to upload to the site, and it will take about a day to get it from your settings while the company compiles and packages it. But you will get it eventually.

Then, the fun begins.

Since Elon Musk has restricted developers' access to Twitter's application programming interface — otherwise known as the API — your tweet deletion service will delete tweets at the speed of thought. (For me, it appears to delete 50 tweets in a 15-minute span.) Fortunately, you don't have to keep the site open. A week or so later, the work would be done, tens of thousands of tweets lost to the ether. I saved the last few weeks' worth because a completely empty feed seemed too sterile, like an empty apartment in a bustling city.

Why go through all this trouble? The historical reason is the old cautionary tale: You've been on social media for a while. Maybe you've said things you regret, and instead of going through your posts with a fine-tooth comb, you patch everything up in the name of reputation protection. But that's not why I recently found myself jonesing to finish my tweet piles. I wanted to be free of them because, in a Muskified Twitter world, my old tweets were making the Internet and my experience on it worse.

Frankly, I've said a lot of things on Twitter that I regret. For starters, it was a waste of time for me and my fellow fighters to get into any serious fights. But my account Has 32,000 followers.And most of them have followed me for years. That crowd is big enough to get me in trouble right then and there if I can. Really Step into it. The thousands of tweets just sitting on my account were mostly anodyne: I was sharing links to stories I wrote or commented on live football games in a way that wouldn't make sense years later. (I wonder which NFL teams were playing when I tweeted “That's a catch” on a Sunday in 2021.)

There is usually no harm in letting these tweets stay there forever. But under Musk's stewardship of the company, a few developments have made me less interested in leaving the platform. One consideration is purely aesthetic. An endless army of spambots, posting full-frontal porn and crypto scams, now visit a significant portion of my posts.

At my most idle, I think of my best old tweets as clever works of wit that I want to preserve. In reality, many old tweets are like abandoned houses, and not particularly good ones. The answers are weeds growing and bots posting asbestos in the walls. My digital sidewalk is no longer clean. Musk has previously thought about removing the site's blocking feature, and that could make the scene much more cluttered under existing tweets. I don't feel like maintaining a breeding ground for Internet vandalism.

Meanwhile, Musk has drifted to the right and become an ardent booster of the anti-Semitic and white alternative drive. Skipping old tweets directly benefits Musk in a few ways. He can make money by selling (incremental) ads that appear between those tweets in search results. Musk is also developing a geeky chatbot on the site, called Grok. The bot produces a lot of poor writing that summarizes posts on topics it thinks will be of interest to a user, and it also comes up with stories that are not only false, but dangerous. . The bot is trained on what people post on X, making all our old tweets potential partners in whatever Musk does with the robot.

I somehow doubt that clearing old posts will prevent the AI ​​from taking A. Terminator Arc if that's what machines ultimately want. But I won't help Musk by saying that at best, annoying software has made an already popular social media site less usable.

Purging my old tweets felt like a small contribution toward a slightly better internet, but the main reason I wanted to get rid of them was personal. Under Musk, X has moved toward an algorithmic model designed to engage users in the style of TikTok or Instagram. Users still have the classic option to only see posts from people they follow, chronologically, but the platform has a feed filled with posts for you. thinks You'll love, has become increasingly prominent. You can find the feed addictive, especially on occasions when it assumes (correctly) that I'm interested in posts on these topics. Are not Banal

I believe the algorithm has made me less optimistic about the world by showing me the most outrageous opinions about serious issues. My hope is that by deleting a week-old quote-tweet from some doofus calling for the National Guard to be deployed to shoot college students in tents, I'll see fewer tweets from doofuses. And I'll be less angry when I look at Twitter. In that spirit, I'm working on getting rid of all my old “favorites.” As for the algorithm, I'd prefer to be unpredictable, or at least get a fresh slate. I don't want new Twitter to know I'm going to be “engaged,” which, in my history on the site, has been synonymous with “angry but hard to look away.”

It all seems like it's not worth squeezing. Why, a wise person might ask, should anyone spend any time in a place that angers them so easily?

The simple answer is that a reasonable person wouldn't, but the lack of reason is also why Twitter has a small but powerful user base. Twitter is always a car fire, and one of its biggest advantages is that humans enjoy rubbernecking. The effort required to delete tweets is ridiculous, but the lift to muster enough self-control to leave the site entirely is much more difficult. And if you can't figure out your future self, at least you can figure out your past self. It will only cost you seven bucks and maybe a few weeks. to wait

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