Fleeing Twitter — The “Twexodus” — is About White Liberal Fragility

Black Twitter isn’t running from Elon and the trolls he inspires. They’re staying and fighting. Here’s why it matters

Tim Wise
Published in
6 min readNov 5, 2022


Image: Elon Musk, Flickr, caricature by DonkeyHotey, Creative Commons license, CC by 2.0

If you’re thinking of leaving Twitter because you always thought it sucked but never got around to deleting your account, this doesn’t apply to you.

If you’re thinking of leaving because you’d rather not sift through ads or pay $8 for verification — apparently needed to help the world’s richest man cover the monthly interest on the loan he took out to acquire his new toy — so be it. Again, this doesn’t apply to you.

But if you’re one of those people — and there are many of you, or others you know — threatening to bolt because Elon Musk’s takeover will bring less content moderation and a likely explosion in trolling and hate speech, I need you to think about some things.

Look, I get it. Who wants to see constant streams of racist, misogynistic vitriol in their mentions or beneath their posts?

I certainly don’t. And I say that as someone who has had my life threatened on Twitter and was doxed on the platform in 2018, leading to still more death threats by phone against my entire family and an eventual visit by an FBI agent to warn me of a credible threat to my safety.

So yeah, I know. Hate speech sucks, and those who refuse to do anything about it suck even harder.

But there’s something I’ve noticed.

The threatened Twexodous is predominantly a white liberal phenomenon. And yes, this matters.

It tells us a lot, not about Twitter, but about white liberals.

I can’t prove it scientifically. I’m not even sure how to demonstrate it quantitatively. But I have over 150,000 followers on the platform and follow a few thousand myself, so I see what people are saying.

And anecdotally — but with lots of qualitative data points — I can tell you: it is white folks who seem most concerned about the increasing toxification of Twitter under Musk’s leadership.

This, even as it will be disproportionately not white people who bear the brunt of that toxicity.



Tim Wise

Anti-racism educator and author of 9 books, including White Like Me and, most recently, Dispatches from the Race War (City Lights, December 2020)