Why Twitter Is So Toxic

Twitter is an excellent medium for businesses, companies, politicians, and famous people to directly engage with customers and fans. However, Out of Reddit, Facebook, Instagram, and other social media, Twitter is the most toxic place.

There are various reasons for it, as elaborated below.

Toxicity isn’t contained on Twitter:

Reddit and Facebook are also Toxic, but it’s contained.

In the case of Reddit, those toxicities are contained inside the communities. And one group of users generally don’t venture into opposing views communities. For example, “Tesla Motors Community” (https://www.reddit.com/r/teslamotors/) users don’t go to “RealTesla” (https://www.reddit.com/r/RealTesla/) for information. The first group consists of Tesla lovers, and the second community consists of those who hate Elon Musk and Tesla. 

On Reddit, there are also upvote and downvote systems. A popular comment would get a lot of upvotes and be placed in front of other users, whereas an unpopular opinion will vanish into oblivion by downvotes. 

Because of this containment of the community and voting system, Reddit toxicity doesn’t affect everyone on the platform.

Facebook Groups and Pages work similarly to the Reddit community. Users join groups according to their preferences and interests. Therefore, a group of people with similar ideologies, beliefs, and ambitions joins the same group and avoids those groups that don’t match their preferences. In this way, toxicity from one group doesn’t spill over to another group. 

However, there are no groups, pages, or communities on Twitter. Everything user posts are open for everyone to view, comment, share and interact with. 

On Facebook, posts can be private for friends or could be global. But on Twitter, every Tweet is global. There’s no privacy. 

It doesn’t matter whatever a person says; there’s always someone who would disagree. It’s why every country has two or more political parties, racial tensions, tribalism, and numerous religions. Even in faith, we have multiple sects and interpretations.

On Twitter, whenever someone tweets, anyone can respond to that tweet. Out of 100 million users, even if 1% of users disagree, the number is still 1 million. If a famous person has 1 million followers, 1% of that followers is 10,000. Out of 1000 comments, 10 nasty comments are enough to ruin anyone’s day.

A Twitter user would not remember 100 beautiful, inspiring, uplifting, loving replies, but 5 vicious replies will haunt those users for weeks.

Unfiltered Opinion:

People don’t go around and say whatever they like to say in the real world because our identity is visible. Generally, people think about the consequences and how others will react. We don’t burst into profanity if someone hurts our feelings. Typically, we leave the place and never meet those people again.

On the contrary, people can hide their identities on Twitter. Anonymity brings out the worst in people. Posting comments anonymous is easy, and there’s no real-world consequences for being mean to others.   

On Reddit, if a user is mean, that user will get banned from communities. On Facebook, Groups will block a toxic user. And on their feed, Facebook users are more careful about being toxic because others are watching. 

But on Twitter, there are no checks and balances. A user can be blocked by another user, but it doesn’t prevent other toxic Twitter users. 

Twitter is heavily politically motivated. Twitter is a constant stream of bad news and vitriol. Every government organization, news media, and politician uses Twitter. Thus it attracts both groups of people with extreme ideologies. 

Toxicity is rewarded on Twitter:

It’s known in the media industry that negative news spreads faster. Whereas uplifting and good news doesn’t attract people. It’s human nature that we are attracted to negative information. Social media intentionally uses this physiology to increase user engagement.  

Social media algorithms know that emotions motivate people to interact with others, particularly when angry. Twitter is driven by this anger which makes it so toxic.

However, unlike YouTube, Reddit, and Facebook, the reward system is different on Twitter.

In the case of YouTube, if someone makes an unappealing video, it will get less watch time, likes, and comments. Thus YouTube algorithm will stop recommending the videos.

On Reddit, an unpopular comment will not get any votes, or the user will downvote it to oblivion.

On the other hand, a negative reply tends to get more attention and engagement. For example, if Elon Musk posts something and a critic like Robert Reich critically replies to it, Robert Reich’s comment would get a lot of likes, shares, and retweets. 

Supporters of Elon Musk don’t like Robert Reich, and supporters of Robert Reich don’t like Elon Musk. Both groups engage in the same Twitter thread making the entire discussion thread a nightmare and toxic.

Echo chamber:

Twitter is an activist echo chamber. Sometimes, some activists work as journalists. These people tend to think they are the protector of the good and fight evil through their online activism. It creates a mass following surrounding a person. 

Elon Musk and Senator Warren don’t go along. Both of them have huge followings on Twitter. If Senator Warren criticizes Elon via a Tweet, Elon Musk’s followers will jump to defend Elon and attack Senator Warren. 

Twitter is a popular place to complain. There’s no middle ground on Twitter. Either you are for or against any topics. 

The absence of a dislike feature has made Twitter so toxic. When someone disagrees with a tweet, they have to reply to show their dislike. This written message definitely will be negative or toxic. In contrast, a simple dislike button would sometimes negate the necessity to comment on many tweets. 

Twitter isn’t a place for conversation but a place to spread opinions. Because of the character limitations, writing a fully formed opinionated passage isn’t possible. Thus, it’s easy to misinterpret others’ tweets. It’s also another source of toxicity on Twitter.

Bottom Line:

No social media on the internet is toxicity free. Facebook, Reddit, 4Chan, Twitter, Tumblr, or Instagram, every one of them has some elements of toxicity. However, it’s the user’s responsibility to stay away from that toxicity.