What Is The Sound of a Dead Bird Xitting?

[NB: check the byline, thanks. /~Rayne]

This post contains observed and speculative material following the reported loss of content circa 2011-2014 at the former bird app.

~ ~ ~


August 9, 2023 – D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the D.C. district court’s earlier finding holding Twitter in contempt and assessing a $350,000 fine for failure to fully comply by the district court’s subpoena deadline.

August 16, 2023 6:41 a.m. ET – Marcy posted about Xitter’s sketchy behaviors in its response to a DOJ subpoena approved on January 17, 2023. Xitter has been held in contempt and assessed a $350,000 fine for failure to comply with the subpoena.

August 16, 2023 1:59 p.m. ET – Marcy posted about the importance of attribution related to January 6 tweets which could have gotten former VP Mike Pence killed. Twitter data could reveal the account login information and device used for the purposes of threatening Pence.

August 17, 2023 6:23 a.m. ET – Marcy posted about Elon Musk’s meetings with with Jim Jordan and Kevin McCarthy while Xitter’s internal and external legal team tap danced about the subpoena it had failed to comply with fully and on a timely basis. This dancing may have been an effort to protect Musk and his political network including certain members of Congress.

August 17, 2023 3:26 p.m. ET – Brazilian Xitter user Danilo Takagi posted,

Acabei de confirmar aqui. O Twitter/X removeu todas as mídias e imagens postadas de 2014 pra trás. Eles não tem dinheiro nem pra armazenamento mais. Artistas e criadores de conteúdo, vocês realmente ainda querem continuar usando esta rede?

[Translation from Portuguese: I just confirmed here. Twitter/X has removed all media and images posted from 2014 onwards. They don’t even have money for storage anymore. Artists and content creators, do you really want to continue using this network?]

August 19, 2023 11:31 a.m. ET – Xitter user Tom Coates confirms Danilo Takagi’s earlier observation:

More vandalism from @elonmusk. Twitter has now removed all media posted before 2014. Thats – so far – almost a decade of pictures and videos from the early 2000s removed from the service. For example, here’s a search of my media tweets from before 2014. https://twitter.com/search?q=From%3Atomcoates%20until%3A2014-01-01&src=typed_query&f=media

Xitter Birdwatch contributors added context:

Images before/around 2014 are still saved on Twitter/X’s servers, however, the t.co links appear to be broken at the moment.

The famous Ellen DeGeneres selfie from the 2014 Oscars is currently missing from her tweet. https://twitter.com/EllenDeGeneres/status/440322224407314432
But the original file is still available on their servers.

Each of the links above in the Birdwatch context field have not been available consistently; they have been converted by Xitter’s t.co link shortener when the tweet is shared but the shortened links may not work properly.

The erasure appears to be related in part to a “failure” of the t.co link shortener which eliminates accessibility to content, but this doesn’t explain why graphic media circa 2011-2014 is no longer available.

What the actual fuck is going on at Xitter?

~ ~ ~

Here are several prominent theories about the loss of media on Xitter:

Musk is cutting costs, some say, by refusing to host media content.

It’s possible, but why 2011-2014 and not ALL of the former Twitter’s media content? Is this explanation consistent with the “failure” of the t.co shortener and loss of graphics in that date range?

Musk is trying to damage social networks within Xitter for his personal political agenda, others say.

Again, why that specific range and not from the former Twitter’s inception?

Musk is erasing cultural history, engaging in ethnocide or cultural genocide, noted by minority groups.

True. Erasing key parts of the Black Lives Matter movement’s inception and the social response to deaths which preceded it is one example targeted by this date range.

Also the erasure of Arab Spring-related content may be ethnocide.

You’re going to see folks making these points across social media, but there’s at least one more possible factor driving Musk’s erasure.

~ ~ ~


What if Musk is eliminating access to evidence?

How do we know for sure whether Xitter the former dead bird platform is simply running into the operations problems expected since Musk canned 75-80% of staff, or whether he’s actively obstructing investigations which rely on former Twitter content by screwing with data accessibility?

How do we know Musk isn’t doing the bidding of his fossil fuel financiers from Qatar and KSA by suppressing access to content critical of leadership in those countries? Perhaps even hiding what it was spies for KSA employed by Twitter had been doing, or hiding possible foreign interference in democracy here and abroad?

Ponder this bit of dead bird xit for a while.

79 replies
  1. Rayne says:

    HEADS UP: We are NOT going to engage in any discussion about the correct pronunciation of Xitter or xit or xitting. It’s been discussed to death in other threads and taken up too much comment space.

    The topic here: what the hell Musk is doing with historical content in the former Twitter social media platform — that’s what we’re discussing in this thread.

    ADDER: I’ve added an entry to the timeline for August 17 which may have been every bit as or more important than the August 16 entries. Forgot to pick it up from another draft, oops.

    • Rayne says:

      LOL might be all you can provide at this point, just a mention of it, if you were relying on old content from the former Twitter.

      ADDER: Whew, your YouTube link didn’t show up right away, took awhile to appear. Now we can enjoy the Norwegian Blue’s pining all we’d like.

  2. P J Evans says:

    I’d already heard of content from before 2014 disappearing. They’d downloaded as much as they could, but couldn’t get to the earlier stuff.

    • Rayne says:

      Any chance you can backtrack and figure out when you heard of older content disappearing and what years that might have been?

      Sure seems odd that the time frame 2011-2014 just happens to coincide with certain Russian influence operations and Aleksandr Kogan’s human experimentation research over at Facebook.

      • Dunnydone says:

        Quite the coincidence… no wonder his investors don’t care about the scorched earth approach to their ROI… it’s what they paid for… bust the joint out…

        • Lisboeta says:

          My Portuguese is not too good. But I think the translation of the Brazilian Xitter user’s post should be:
          … Twitter/X removed all media and images posted from 2014 back. (not ‘from 2014 onwards’)

  3. Naomi Schiff says:

    Thank you! Need someone far more knowledgeable than I to question and explain what is going on with xitter. (I canceled my own account, which was barely used, when Musk took over, so don’t have access to poke around.)

  4. gertibird says:

    I’ll go with the August 17th reason. Why in the world would he refuse/delay the subpoena and then meet with Jim Jordon and McCarthy? Jim Jordon was one of the Congress people who wanted a pardon from Trump. Is there DM’s between him, others related to Jan 6? Musk has gone very right wing of late and is hanging out with Saudi Arabia and Qatar, the same countries involved with Kushner getting his loan and the Trump administration shutting down Qatar. A lot of things seem fishing.

    • Rayne says:

      It’s a bit more than “hanging out with Saudi Arabia and Qatar,” if you look at who financed Musk’s acquisition of Twitter.

      • Molly Pitcher says:

        I am amused by this paragraph from the Strauss Capital LLC website:

        “Strauss Capital will, under certain circumstances, consider making direct investments in selected companies using our own capital, co-investing with private equity firms, or partnering with high net worth individuals. We seek companies with first rate management and good growth potential.”

      • Just Some Guy says:

        That’s an interesting table for certain. But by my weak addition skills, it only adds up to $7,134,500,000 of the overall $44 bn in funding. I don’t know if I’ve read elsewhere much detail about where the remaining funds came from, and I am more than a bit skeptical that it was from Elmo.

        • Rayne says:

          How much of the other money was propped up in some way by KSA and Qatar money? I think the total investment isn’t just the 16% visible in that table; the $7.1B tells us these entities are committed.

        • Just Some Guy says:

          Right, it definitely prompts more questions, for sure.

          On another thread, people were discussing the recent move to incorporate Xitter in Nevada, and ascribing all kinds of motivations to it (given the HQ in SF, the Delaware court, etc.) — some of which are certainly plausible, though one reason (among probably several) that seems likely yet went unmentioned is that Tesla has a large manufacturing facility in Sparks. I don’t know if it is incorporated there as well but it may have just been “convenient” in addition to Nevada’s particular set of laws.

        • Rayne says:

          Rhetorical questions: based on publicly available information, when Musk has had to make a decision affecting users, customers, and/or the public, is he more likely to make an ethical or unethical choice?

          Have you considered the placement of Tesla’s manufacturing facilities based on that perspective?

        • Just Some Guy says:

          To be clear, nothing in the public record suggests to me that he has any sense of ethics whatsoever, especially given Tesla’s quite-public problems with minority employee harassment. Nor am I suggesting that there is any single, sole reason for either Xitter’s state of incorporation, or for anything else Musk does — just that Nevada isn’t necessarily a “random” choice given that he already has business interests there, and I am speculating (uh oh) Nevada’s requirements for disclosure were something he was perhaps familiar with.

          I’d already kind of assumed, without looking it up, that the Nevada facility was probably, to some degree, designed to avoid California’s labor laws, though I certainly had no proof of that. But another Tesla facility came online in California last year.

          As it happens, Tesla is “headquartered” in Texas now as opposed to California, but I don’t know where it is incorporated.

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          Apparently still in Delaware, which is largely as protective of owners and managers as Nevada or Wyoming, two other popular jurisdictions.

        • Lisboeta says:

          Where the remaining funds came from? We shall probably never know. Musk wasn’t able to sell too many of his Tesla shares without unsettling that company’s investors. But, international finance being what it is, there was nothing to stop Musk, and assorted third party investors who preferred to remain anonymous, from setting up a web of shell companies to obfuscate the money trail.

    • Molly Pitcher says:

      [hit the wrong key]

      1. Russia Annexes Crimea and Threatens the Rest of Ukraine

      Click on the link above, it is worth seeing he whole list

      • Molly Pitcher says:

        BTW: Wikipedia does a pretty handy year end wrap up of each year by month, if you just enter the year in the search bar.

      • Rayne says:

        The 2016 election of Donald Trump and his candidacy in 2020 are simply the same meta project, continued.

  5. Ralf Maximus says:

    Disappearing is not the same as deletion. I’d wager the data still exists (as the link shortening shenanigans suggest) but making it unavailable to the general public saves bandwidth costs.

    As far as evidence goes, responding to a subpoena for specific tweets and/or media would not rely on public facing APIs anyway; they’d pull the data directly off the physical servers. Or offline backups of the servers.

    Another reason to believe that data still exists: it’s incredibly valuable. Musk would LOVE to train large language models on that data, and all the stored imagery is perfect for AI art generation. He’d never throw that away, even if the law demanded it.

    • Rayne says:

      Who does the actual search for subpoena-compliant data? It’s not DOJ but Xitter, and Xitter can do all kinds of manipulative crap with their search if they tinker with data paths and fields. We don’t know what’s actually happened; it sure looks hinky from the outside.

      Removing the t.co to prevent accessibility by the public also makes it difficult for the public to vet different forms of governance compliance by Xitter in addition to suppressing community organizers and activists’ ability to research past activity to use for future activism.

      ADDER: wrt value of media for LLM — you know what’s more valuable especially since AI-generated content can’t be copyrighted? Occupying a presidency.

      • Ralf Maximus says:

        > wrt value of media for LLM

        Well yes, exactly. I wasn’t thinking of him monetizing a twitter LLM directly, more like: building an army of fake Muskrats who amplify his own message. Complete with terrible AI generated meme imagery! That is SO on brand for him.

        And once those tools are available for his own use, why not sell that as a service? A turbocharged version of how Cambridge Analytica leveraged Facebook. Copyright doesn’t enter into any of that.

        • Rayne says:

          Musk has in excess of 153 million follower accounts, the majority of which are synthetic. Not exactly doing much good for him, and they’re only going to be effective inside the walled garden of Xitter.

          Hell, his one CEO isn’t doing much good.

        • RipNoLonger says:

          Just think of the millions of AI-generated trump-headed playing cards that could be unleashed on the world (thinking of those hulkish ones that spewed a few weeks ago.)

          While AI “art” can’t be copyrighted (at least right now), I wonder if the gargoyle’s face as implanted in an AI frame could be.

      • Cicero101 says:

        Ultimately the FBI and police can obtain court orders empowering entry and search by their own agents to the exclusion of Xitter’s employees.

  6. Raven Onthill says:

    I favor the Arab Spring hypothesis; certainly Prince Al Waleed bin Talal Al Saud has an interest in making that vanish and he’s a huge investor. But barring some serious espionage, I doubt we will ever know with certainty.

  7. bloopie2 says:

    Excuse my ignorance for the following questions/comments, but I’m only a (former) Twitter troll, not a user, and even then am not very technically current. I see that people are upset that recorded history is possibly being un-recorded and thus lost forever. In all regards, that’s a terrible thing. But it raises several questions in my mind.
    1. Are there other “public” forums that are, similarly, privately owned and thus amenable to spur of the moment destruction?
    2. If so, then what can or should people to do safeguard the history that is “stored” there?
    3. If not, then how was history (interactions between others, not just one person’s writings) safely preserved before Twitter?
    I assume that we don’t trust the iCloud (or its kin) to store the only copy of our valuables. But it seems that Twitter was singularly useful in being a central repository for comments and information that people wanted others to see. How do we move on from it? Perhaps ten years from now the idea of having consigned all our hopes and dreams to one website will seem hopelessly naïve.
    PS: If the Emptywheel.net website/archive were to go away tomorrow, would its contents be available elsewhere?
    This post is great, though, thank you, Rayne.

    • Rayne says:

      If users do not own the hosting for media, the media is always at risk.

      The solution is to backup your media locally to your own device.

      WRT Emptywheel and a possible archive: there are likely copies of many posts if not all of them available on Internet Archive. If you see a post you believe should be archived, save it there at https://archive.org/web/

      • AgainBrain says:

        And (obviously) donating and supporting the Internet Archive effort is extremely important, precisely because of the immense historical record they already represent, the incredible utility that record already offers, and the certainty that value will only grow in the future. Everyone who has used their service more than once or twice should be contributing!

        I’ll save the bikeshedding about why the Library of Congress should be massively subsidizing and expanding the Internet Archive efforts for another time.

    • emptywheel says:

      Without too much detail, we do try to archive in ways that make it harder to destroy the site.

        • mycotropic says:

          I have every file I’ve created going back to 1997 or so stored locally, backed up to physical media that I store remotely and a copy of that sucker in another physical location. I’m an idiot of course and overly paranoid but I also have piles and piles of screen caps and saved tweets from both the Oregon miners paramilitary event and the Malheur occupation so when musk deletes that little chunk of history I’ll have my record!
          It only makes sense to back up your personal history to personal media given we live near billionaires.

  8. higgs boson says:

    Apologies if this is naive/obvious; not a social media user.

    If the t.co “shortened” links aren’t working, but the original path can still be used to get to the media, maybe t.co links can be run through one of the various link un-shortening tools available?

    • CJCJCJCJ says:

      That only works if they already know where the target of the short link is intended to point to.

    • SotekPrime says:

      Generalized link un-shortening can only possibly work by following the link and seeing where it redirects to. This fails for broken t.co links for, um, obvious reasons.

      If a specific shortener uses a known algorithm, you can apply the algorithm yourself, but most shorteners work by what is essentially a big database – they just take the cruft after their short link and look it up to figure out where it goes. (and I’m pretty sure that’s how t.co works, to be specific…)

  9. Vicks says:

    If Musk’s supposed goal has been to turn Twitter into a financial services app as well as a social app you’d think you would have heard more noise when he succeeded in partnering with eToro a few months back?
    My wild guess is that maybe “partnering” isn’t the end game, and deleting, moving , condensing or whatever Musk is doing with old Twitter data is part of retooling the platform for something bigger.

    • Rayne says:

      Why would a social-media-as-financial-portal platform piss off its established social media userbase?

      Retooling for something bigger? Musk is struggling with simple stuff like providing a means for law enforcement to serve warrants; how’s Xitter going to comply with federal banking regulations?

      • Lisboeta says:

        When Musk took over Twitter, he sacked most of the staff (without knowing what their jobs entailed!). He had no concept of the role of user engagement in social media: he thought it was just software and servers. Since then, Xitter has been struggling with a whole host of problems. If/when Musk finally gets around to launching it, would you trust your money to X?

        • Rayne says:

          I wouldn’t trust Musk to water a geranium.

          It cracks me up how many people ask critics to wait for more details on Xitter, telling us how he must be doing [pick some act which pisses off users causing them to leave] because he’s doing that thing to make profit.

      • vicks says:

        I can’t answer the question “why” to anything Musk says or does, but turning “X” into a WeChat style platform is a real plan that Musk appears to be acting on.

        “In messages expressing support for Musk’s ambitious overhaul, Twitter’s CEO, Linda Yaccarino, confirmed that the X app would incorporate fintech features, including payments and banking capabilities. To pave the way for this financial integration, Twitter has successfully obtained money-transmitter licenses in four U.S. states, namely Arizona, Michigan, Missouri, and New Hampshire.”

    • Sherrie H says:

      I can’t imagine the earned perception of technical incompetence and all-around poor decision-making will help him move into anything financial.

      • vicks says:

        Actually, Musk co-founded PayPal and after selling it to E-bay, used 100 million of the 2.5 billions proceeds to start SpaceX.
        At a minimum, he “knows people” that can get it done.
        No surprise Musk thinks he can succeed where bigger, stronger, smarter people and companies with interactive platforms have either failed, or did thier homework and concluded it was stupid idea….

  10. CJCJCJCJ says:

    For completeness, there’s also the boring hypothesis that Twitter had multiple blob storage systems over the years; ran them in parallel; never completed migrating things to the newest one; and the one covering that period broke and nobody left knows how to fix it. There are probably enough ex-employees around that someone should be able to confirm or deny it.

    • Troutwaxer says:

      This is definitely possible. My own observation is that keeping old computers around longer than 5-10 years is frequently unsustainable; hard drives get old, SSDs suffer from too many reads, protocols change, RAM degrades or fails, etc. If you want to keep stuff around for more than ten years constant data migration is a must. Whether this is a reflection of Musk’s malice or his incompetence is hard to determine without more evidence than we have.

      I’m definitely NOT saying that Musk is a great guy or anything, simply that we need to consider the technical side as well, and I’m eagerly awaiting more evidence one way or another.

      • Rayne says:

        Give me a fucking break. Data migration to new storage should be transparent to users and it’s only gotten cheaper over time. Not migrating to new hardware ends up costing more in service. Look around at the Big Tech platforms who do this continuously, like Google and Meta/Facebook — utterly transparent what server you’re on today. Even tiny sites have mastered this; do you know whether you’re commenting on the same hardware today versus your last comment at emptywheel?

        There’s no reason to cut Musk any goddamned slack when he fired 75-80% of staff before he fully understood Twitter’s software, infrastructure, and business history. A perfect example of his overall deliberate sloppiness is his termination of communications personnel, replacing them with a poop emoji, and then getting in deeper shit when DOJ has difficulty serving a warrant on a poop emoji-based communications department, and then throwing pricey lawyers at the problem instead of simply keeping communications personnel on board.

        Now imagine that same careless attitude applied to data farm operations.

        • Troutwaxer says:

          You’re getting mad at me then making the same argument I’m making, which is that Musk is clearly incompetent. And where did you get the idea that I want to give one of the world’s most obvious idiots any slack? I’m not even sure where we disagree. Do you have a problem with the idea that we need more data to know whether the problem Marcy identifies is a product of malice vs incompetence? Because if not I’ve no clue what we’re arguing about.

        • Rayne says:

          First, you wrote, “keeping old computers around longer than 5-10 years is frequently unsustainable.”

          Then suggest more data is needed to determine “Musk’s malice or his incompetence” wrt Xitter’s technology “fails.”

          This, about a man who has removed most of the safety net keeping CSAM off the platform, who replaces comms and legal personnel with a shit emoji, who welcomed and now pays fucking Nazis to post content.

          But it might be the string of technical “burps” are due to incompetence in the face of a body of malicious behavior?

          Bah. At some point the “burps” are deliberate policy choices, and the technical failures are just a way of redirecting attention from the malice in charge.

        • Troutwaxer says:

          Yes, the right-wing vileness at Xitter is clearly a deliberate policy change – once again, no arguments there. And most of those decisions, including the child SA, are clearly based on Musk’s hideous and clueless “Libertarian” politics plus other uglinesses. But he’s also fundamentally clueless about how to maintain a gigantic cloud-computing operation. Where “we lost three years of tweets” came from is anyone’s guess. I’m suspicious of the issue, as anyone should be, because Elon… but don’t regard it as proven.

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          Elmo’s chaos is intentional, not just an outgrowth of personal whims. That makes the outcomes of that chaos intentional.

          If you’re the new owner of a ship you’ve vastly overpaid for, and your first commands are to fire 3/4 of your crew, dismantle your radar, gps, and comms, cut the bridge, navigation and propulsion staff, and slice the rudder cables, it’s not an accident that you don’t know where you are, where you’re going, or how the fuck you’ll get there.

          It shouts that you don’t want to get there or run a ship. You want a hulk you can salvage for another purpose.

        • GoldkinDrake says:

          (Mod note: my last geoip will be radically different from this one since I was traveling at the time, so this will probably land in automod. I’m back now, so it should be stable from here on out.)

          I have utterly no idea how Twitter does its archival storage, so what follows here is anecdotal and mostly me spitballing. But having seen some of how the metaphorical sausage is made from an adjacent tech firm, my best guess is what’s happening is a combination of maliciousness and incompetence.

          Most content delivery/distribution network providers generally separate storage into different classes and tier their services accordingly. For example, Amazon S3 provides different forms of storage and retrieval guarantees via its Glacier service (https://aws.amazon.com/s3/storage-classes/glacier/ ) that allow you to balance how available the content is vs the costs of storage. For a high availability service like now-X-formerly-Twitter, it would be crazy for them to not be running a similar model to save on storage costs with their platform providers or, for the services they render internally, to provide this guarantee for what they spool out to cheaper media like good-old-fashioned tape.

          At pre-Elmo Twitter, my guess would have been that a manager was tasked with cutting storage costs to incrementally improve the budget, and as part of a feature team somewhere in the guts of their org, they decided to move posts with infrequent access to another storage tier. That accessible posts are dead means they would have done this on the wrong criteria by mistake (for example, by storage time instead of most recent retrieval time).

          This sort of mistake happens all the time, and is a frequent source of incident postmortems for basically anyone working in tech at a larger firm.

          But now that Elmo is running the show, cut most of the company, and never let a protective bubble build up around him at X to keep the company functional, let’s be real here: all roads run through him. One of his remaining engineers probably showed him a graph of how much they could save if they cut all of those posts by turning the appropriate knobs in their storage policies, and he probably approved it on the spot.

          I don’t have the ability to divine what his state of mind was when approving it, but I bet he sees all those pesky posts being gone as a bonus.

        • Rayne says:

          That jibes with reports Musk closed some data farms at different locations, though the closures weren’t recent. He’s probably refusing to pay for leased space, forcing consolidation, and the malicious part is both bailing out on bills (I will bet doughnuts he’s doing this) and not giving a fuck what happens as content is consolidated (it’s not merely incompetence when it’s a deliberate choice not to care).

          In re auto-moderation — you used an active link in your comment, which is just as likely to trigger auto-mod. No matter, your comment has cleared. Thanks.

        • GoldkinDrake says:

          Thanks Rayne, re, the moderation note.

          And yeah, the likelihood that Elmo sees these problems and doesn’t care (or tenuously pieces it together in ego-stroking rationalizations) is how I see it as well. The legal, relations management with dubious entities, and implementation problems are for his underlings to figure out as he sees it. Which, as discussed here and elsewhere, puts those fluent in managing *him* in significantly powerful positions.

    • Another dude from G-ville says:

      From my understanding Twitter uses Redis, which is 100% opposite of blob storage. I could be wrong, or it could be they used Redis to cache in parallel. If that’s the case and one server went down they could be without backup. Don’t know really…

      • CJCJCJCJ says:

        Twitter is unlikely to have used Redis for blobs any time in the last decade; they were well into having to build their own infrastructure due to scale by then.

  11. greenbird says:

    far afield and before first cuppa:
    i’m sure some of my comments were within the time-frame.
    at the peak of Arab spring news, if i had commented – are they ‘legally’ mine ?
    using connective structures, are they ‘legally’ the origin country’s, also ?
    what does Chris Krebs say ?
    ah – Jackie Gleason’s “to the moon!” could become a meme parent … as well as Bugs’ “maroon”.

  12. WilliamOckham says:

    A few quick observations. First, when this was first reported, I couldn’t figure out what the fuss was about. I could still see and access all of the disappearing content on my phone. However, when I checked through a web browser, sure enough, it was all missing.

    Then it dawned on me. When Musk changed the name of Twitter to X,I (in a fit of admittedly petty pique) stopped allowing automatic app updates on my iPhone so that I could block that stupid X icon from showing up on my phone.

    Long story short: This started out as a change to the client side code. With Musk in charge, it’s impossible to tell if it was accidental or intentional. However, as of right now, the missing images are all still there. I can see them on my phone. That doesn’t mean they’ll still be there in five minutes.

    As to why are people unable to access images from 2011-2014, 2011 is when Twitter started hosting the images people posted. I’m not entirely sure why images after 2014 are still showing for folks.

  13. ancien regime says:

    The original data still exists. It’s just harder to get to. That’s not how you erase history. Anyone really interested in that data will find the links easily enough.

    This is probably infrastructure rot. It’s also possible Musk is going to restore the links but only for Twitter Blue users. Holding your data hostage for $8/mo. is exactly the kind of thing he’d do.

    But it’s not likely he’s burying history for the Saudis or anyone else. Nor is it likely he’d actually delete large amounts of user data. In an LLM world user data is gold. No one deletes gold.

    What he is capable of, by the way, is tracking down every twitter handle associated with anyone on this thread and seizing them all with no notice. Not personally, of course. He has people for that. They’re surprisingly good at it.

    I’d archive anything you really want to keep. He’s a very petty man.

    [Sorry for the new username. The old one is locked up in a LastPass account I won’t pay for anymore.]

    [Welcome back to emptywheel. Please choose and use a unique username with a minimum of 8 letters. We are moving to a new minimum standard to support community security. If “ancien regime” is the name you have chosen, make a note of it and use it along with the same email address each time you comment. Because this site doesn’t require a login, using a password manager to save a username for commenting may not be in your best interest. Thanks. /~Rayne]

    • Rayne says:

      The original data still exists. It’s just harder to get to. That’s not how you erase history.

      How to tell me you’re cis-het white male without telling me.

  14. Molly Pitcher says:

    Two interesting pieces on Musk out today.

    A piece in the Daily Beast quoting a New Yorker piece about escalating Ketamine use by Musk:

    From the New Yorker, a piece by Ronan Farrow stating that the US government is having trouble reining Musk in now that they have become too dependent on him. The extent to which the US government has allowed Musk to be involved in Ukraine is mindbogglingly stupid.

  15. vigetnovus says:

    You’re leaving out the biggest Twitter (and FB) event to happen in the 2011-14 time period: rescue of FB and massive investment into Twitter by an Alisher Usmanov/Yuri Milner investment vehicle ultimately fronted by VTB and Gazprom.

    It was financed in 2011, and they were out by the close of 2014. This nicely dovetails with the beginning of the weaponization of social media and Silicon Valley writ large at the same time, ultimately culminating in Gamergate in late 2014, which eventually gave rise to Qanon.

    Also, maybe unrelated data point, in late 2010, Qatar was awarded the FIFA world cup in 2022, and Russia was awarded the 2018 world cup *at the very same time*.

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