Appalachian Learning Initiative is Hitting the X-It
By: Marcus J. Hopkins
September 19th, 2023
It is with great sadness and regret that the Appalachian Learning Initiative has decided to depart from the #Twitter platform, effective Friday, September 22nd, 2023.
After much deliberation, we have determined that the changes affected by Twitter's owner, Elon Musk, have made it a space that APPLI is no longer willing to occupy. For nearly a year, Musk has made several changes to the platform, each of which has gradually transformed Twitter from a powerful tool for advocacy, social change, and breaking news to a bastion of #Antisemitism, #Homophobia, #ConspiracyTheories, and science denialism masquerading as #FreeSpeech.
Though we are a young organization, we are an organization that is founded on the values of equity, equality, fairness, and access to quality education, healthcare, and social services for adults living in Appalachia's 13 states, 423 counties, and 8 independent Virginia cities. This means calling out, standing up against, and refusing to tolerate platforms that make life unsafe for those living in the Appalachian Region.
To be clear, Twitter has never been a "safe space." Since its inception, people of color, women, people of trans experience, #LGBTQIA+ people, and non-Christians have consistently been targets of attacks that have clearly violated Twitter's Terms of Service, but have been ignored and deemed acceptable by both live and automatic content moderators.
Twitter was, however, a very powerful medium for advocates to inspire real change and raise awareness about social, political, and public health issues. For this reason alone, APPLI remained on Twitter after Musk's purchase of the platform, hoping the worst would not come to pass. Unfortunately, Twitter quickly devolved into a platform that brings out the worst in humanity.
The values that we uphold are values that no longer exist on the Twitter platform. We hope that those who support those values with us will like, subscribe, and follow us on our other social media channels @APPLIOrg on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Post, Threads, and YouTube.