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X: Strategically Evolving to Meet the Needs of Our Partners

Elon Musk’s problematic—and troubling—management of the X platform requires a judicious approach to UUSC’s social media strategy.
Elon Twitter X

June 20, 2024

In today’s rapidly changing digital landscape, UUSC remains dedicated to leveraging social media as a powerful advocacy tool while upholding our core values of justice, equity, and human rights. Under Elon Musk’s leadership, recent changes on X (formerly known as Twitter) have presented us with both challenges and opportunities as an organization. Our approach to navigating these changes must ensure our social media presence continues to support our partners while reflecting our values.

X has been an essential tool for advocacy, engagement, and spreading awareness. Its capability for rapid information dissemination and its reach to influencers, policymakers, and the public is unparalleled. Feedback from our global grassroots partners underscores the platform’s critical role in their advocacy strategies, even as they navigate its challenges.

Over the past year, X has implemented shifts in policy and practices, raising concerns about ethical alignment, particularly in handling hate speech, misinformation, disinformation, and the reinstatement of accounts previously banned for violating content policies. The Center for Countering Digital Hate released a report in November 2023 stating that X has systematically failed to remove antisemitic, anti-Black, anti-Palestinian, and anti-Muslim content from the platform. These developments challenge UUSC’s values and the principles guiding our mission.

Our partners’ usage patterns and responses to recent changes under Twitter/X’s new ownership vary. Several organizations, such as the Loss and Damage Collaboration and the U.S. Campaign for Burma, use the platform daily despite negatively impacted organic reach and credibility issues following Musk’s acquisition. For example, the Loss and Damage Collaboration noted, “Musk’s ownership has prioritized paid accounts, reducing our organic reach,” while the U.S. Campaign for Burma stated, “We are no longer a noted verified source, which impacts our credibility.”

Our Response

After extensive consultations with our partners and a careful review of the platform’s new trajectory in the non-profit and philanthropy ecosystems, UUSC has decided to maintain a strategic presence on X. This decision is informed by the platform’s unmatched reach and its potential to influence public discourse crucial for our advocacy work. However, recognizing the ethical complexities introduced by the platform’s new policies, our engagement will be more selective and strategic.

We do not take this decision lightly. It balances the need to reach wide audiences and drive social change with our commitment to ethical practices. Here’s why we remain on the platform:

  • Unmatched Advocacy Reach: Despite its issues, X connects us with global audiences, including key decision-makers and influencers who can help amplify our causes and those of our grassroots partners and allies.
  • Partner Insights: Feedback from our global grassroots partners underscores the platform’s role in their advocacy strategies, even as they navigate its challenges.
  • Dynamic Engagement: The platform’s real-time communication capability allows us to respond swiftly and effectively to ongoing social justice issues.

It is imperative to note that while we find the policies and practices of X’s leadership to be deeply problematic, X still remains an active and robust platform for engaging the media, amplifying the work of UUSC partners, and strategic outreach and mobilization of key stakeholders. We hold multiple truths: The platform’s leadership and management is highly misaligned with UUSC values, [and the platform itself] continues to serve a vital role in public discourse. 

While our engagement on the platform will be more limited, we will also, when necessary, serve as a moral counterweight to the regressive rhetoric permeating its environs. 

Next Steps

Understanding the risks and opportunities presented by X, UUSC is adopting several strategic adjustments to enhance our impact while maintaining our ethical standards:

  • Abstaining From Financial Investments: We will refrain from making financial investments in the platform to avoid endorsing practices misaligned with our values.
  • Platform Diversification: We are actively expanding our presence on other social media platforms like LinkedIn and exploring emerging platforms like Threads. This diversification will allow us to engage with different stakeholders more effectively and align with platforms that better match our ethical standards.
  • Community and Stakeholder Engagement: Transparency with our community and stakeholders is paramount. We will communicate regularly about our strategies and their alignment with our mission, soliciting feedback to refine our approach.

Additionally, we are enhancing our overall digital strategy:

  • Strengthening Email Campaigns: We are bolstering our email outreach to provide more targeted and personalized content to our supporters, enhancing our ability to mobilize grassroots support and disseminate critical information.
  • Innovative Content Creation: Our teams are working on creating compelling digital content that resonates across various platforms, ensuring our messages are engaging and motivate action.
  • Ethics in Digital Interaction: We are drafting a comprehensive digital interaction guide to direct our internal staff in managing online interactions thoughtfully and respectfully, ensuring our digital presence is consistently aligned with our values.

As UUSC adapts to the changing social media landscape, we remain committed to our mission advocating human rights and social justice globally. We are dedicated to this dynamic and reflective approach, prepared to make further strategic adjustments as necessary to address complex challenges.

Image credit: Shutterstock

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