Helen Zille, chairman of the DA’s federal council, announced Monday that she is closing her Twitter account. In a tweet on the social media platform, Zille says she made the decision after the “grotesque treatment” of her granddaughter on Sunday.
Zille shared a photo of her granddaughter this weekend where she helped her cook during load shedding. In response, some Twitter users have asked, among other things, whether she is trying to train the girl as a domestic worker and whether the child is her slave.
“Twitter has turned into a platform for irrationality and a place where crowds hang you without a judicial hearing. Everything that can be twisted and changed for a hate-filled agenda is used to produce anger and inflict maximum damage, ”Zille tweeted.
“For a long time I have tried to promote Twitter as a platform for rational and civilized debate, but it is clearly impossible.”
Zille says the platform is now a place for distortion, a place where context is removed; where people are demonized and where double standards celebrate high.
“Instead of democratizing debate, it restricted freedom of speech and discussion. It makes your enemies brave and your friends quiet. ”
Zille says the only thing she’s going to miss is the posts from the rational and interesting people she followed.
She has since opened a new, private account, @ZilleTweets, but says it is only for those interested in reasoned debate. “Of course, I’m only going to know if anyone is interested in rational debate if I know them either in person or through previous Twitter interaction. This means I can reject those who are interested in such debate because I do not know them.
“I apologize for that, but this wicked platform – which cannot find an effective way to detect false accounts and act against those who hate speech (as defined in the Constitution) – offers no alternative. I’m gone. “
A thread 1) After the grotesque treatment of my grand-daughter on Twitter ydy, I am closing this account. I say goodbye to some of my followers, and good riddance to the haters, bots and sock-puppets that constitute such a large percentage of my 1,4-million plus followers.— Helen Zille (@helenzille) February 17, 2020
2) Twitter has degenerated into a platform for irrationality and mob-lynching. Everything that can be distorted and twisted for a hate-filled agenda, is used for the purpose of manufacturing outrage and inflicting maximum damage.— Helen Zille (@helenzille) February 17, 2020
3) For a long time I have sought to promote Twitter as a platform for rational and civil debate, but it clearly is not possible. It has degenerated into a space of distortion, de-contextualisation, demonization, de-legitimation and double standards.— Helen Zille (@helenzille) February 17, 2020
4) Instead of democratising debate, it has severely curtailed freedom of speech and discussion. It emboldens your enemies and silences your friends. It is a space where the best lack all conviction and the worst are full of passionate intensity, as Yeats so aptly put it.— Helen Zille (@helenzille) February 17, 2020
5) The only thing I would miss if I went off the platform entirely, are the posts of the rational and interesting people I follow. So I am opening a new, private account called @ZilleTweets. That will be for people interested in rational debate only.— Helen Zille (@helenzille) February 17, 2020
6) Of course, I would only know if someone is interested in rational debate if I know them either personally, or through past Twitter interactions. This means I may reject many who are interested in rational debate, but who I do not know.— Helen Zille (@helenzille) February 17, 2020
7) I apologise for that. But this evil platform, that can find no effective way of filtering out fake accounts, and dealing with hate speech (as constitutionally defined) offers no alternative. Go well if you mean well. I'm out of here.— Helen Zille (@helenzille) February 17, 2020