Barely two years after becoming a major Twitter shareholder, US hedge fund billionaire Paul Elliott Singer has managed to oust Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey. For Twitter users, this will likely mean more aggressive advertising and more political censorship. How can advanced Twitter users respond to this development? Ten suggestions.
1. Use a Twitter alternative
To avoid political censorship, use a free speech friendly and privacy-focused social network, messaging app, or video sharing platform alternative. This is especially important if you run a major Twitter account that challenges establishment narratives. To avoid getting purged by the Twitter algorithm, consider following some establishment figures or media outlets.
2. Use an ad blocker
To avoid getting tracked and profiled, use an ad and tracking blocker on all of your devices (including cellphones). By the end of 2020, there were about a quarter of a billion desktop adblock users and more than half a billion mobile adblock users. To support high-quality journalism and dedicated authors, disable the ad blocker on their websites or donate to them directly.
3. Use the Nitter front-end
Twitter is increasingly forcing visitors to sign up and log in to just view Tweets (a monitoring and monetization strategy copied from Facebook and Instagram). To avoid this, use the open-source Twitter front-end Nitter.net. To automatically open Twitter links by Nitter instead of Twitter, use a Nitter redirect browser extension.
4. Show hidden replies
Twitter is increasingly hiding contrarian replies, pretending they are “not relevant” or “offensive”. To automatically show hidden Twitter replies, use the Twitter View More Replies browser extension. To do so, first install the Tampermonkey browser extension.
5. Bypass “unsafe link” warnings
6. Hide warning labels and “fact checks”
To hide dubious “warning labels” and “fact checks” appended to Tweets, use the element picker of your ad blocker and simply remove them for good.
7. Use advanced search
In stark contrast to Facebook and YouTube, Twitter still has a mostly uncensored search function. To search for specific Tweets or media, use the advanced search function.
8. Beware of bots and spooks
Twitter is notoriously infested with trolls, bots, fake followers and spooks. During the covid pandemic, various bot networks promoted lockdowns and other restrictions. In 2018, US cyber security contractors were caught faking a “Russian botnet” to influence a US state senate race. In 2019, a senior Twitter executive was exposed as a British Army psyops officer.
To identify potential bot accounts, use the Indiana University Botometer tool.
9. Easily download videos
To easily download videos on Twitter, use Twitter Video Downloader or a similar tool.
10. Disable video autoplay
Bonus: Hide childish emojis
Twitter is a great platform to rapidly exchange ideas, but it may also be a rather toxic environment. To hide some or all emojis on Twitter, use the element picker of your ad blocker to remove them or simply add ||abs-0.twimg.com/emoji/v2/svg/*.svg$image as a new filter rule. You will be surprised how many people have nothing at all to say.