#Opinion

Hailey Baldwin’s Twitter Exit Is Yet Another Reminder Of The Toxicity Breeding Online

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Hailey Baldwin Twitter exit: Another one bites the dust. Model Hailey Baldwin-Bieber quit Twitter some time ago. Only recently, she opened up on the reasons behind her decision in the matter. The microblogging platform had become a “toxic” place, she said in a video on her YouTube channel. “I don’t even have a Twitter anymore because there was never really a time where I would go on there and it didn’t feel like it was a very toxic environment… The thought of even opening the app gives me such bad anxiety that I feel like I’m gonna throw up,” she says.

The issue begs attention, and urgently, because Baldwin’s isn’t an isolated case. She is one in a string of many high-profile personalities who are waving goodbye to Twitter owing to the sour environment it had begun to breed for them – the most prominent being Chrissy Teigen.

Amidst wide furore and sad protests from fans, Teigen dropped the curtains on her social media account in March 2021 after ten years, citing something along the lines of how the load of commentary (the good the bad, but mostly the bad) coming her way on a prolonged basis had taken a toll on her. Read what she said here.

How much longer will the rest of us last on social media? Are the giants at Silicon Valley doing enough to ensure the mental wellbeing of netizens or are online guidelines only just eyewash? Is the block/report button a long-term (or any) remedy to the negativity that spills over from the internet into our real lives?

Hailey Baldwin Twitter Exit Is Part Of A Larger Question

It isn’t just celebrities who bow out of social media for a mind, body and soul cleanse. Regular, non-film folk do too. Everyone buckles under their own share of online toxicity, because slut-shaming, angry comments, hate speech and dirty DMs aren’t just endemic to the entertainment industry.

So when celebrities cite user negativity, who are they really blaming, seeing how most of us have the same complaints? Does the onus of correction and weeding out the disruption then solely fall on the shoulders of the corporates?

What about the cases that go unreported? Hailey Baldwin Twitter exit prompts questions

When celebrities make these grievances public, people sit up and take note. When Aamir Khan recently exited all social media save for a promotional account, it caused some ripples. When Deepika Padukone wiped off her social media timelines temporarily, everyone was piqued. When Sonam Kapoor announced her (temporary) exit, it raised questions.

But what about the thousands of other cases that go unreported? Do all women have resources handy to complain about missing safety valves on social media?

What’s most worrisome is that the issue transgresses beyond just Twitter. Instagram had the boys’ locker room chats, Snapchat is routinely mired in unsolicited dick pic controversies, Telegram saw photoshopped photos of women floating around on broad channels.

How Social Media Is A Big Blow To Self-Esteem

Baldwin made a key point while opening up on the reasons behind her exit, saying, “You just have so many people hounding you with the same thing over and over and over again, it starts to mess with your mind and then you start to question everything and you’re like, ‘Is there something that I’m not seeing that they see?'”

And while this too is something that most people on social media are plagued by, the exclusive, massive scrutiny imparted to celebrities and their lives – from behind anonymous, entitled accounts – is perhaps far more brutal than singular attacks the rest of us are served.

They are criticised for both doing and not doing certain things or looking a certain way or eating certain foods or commenting on certain matters. How will it not make any person question their worth and identity value?

Solutions for better, safer online experiences need to be devised, and devised fast. Not because our favourite celebrity icons may be exiting social media, leaving us behind without routine updates of their lives. But because internet toxicity affects us all. To those it hasn’t affected yet, one can be sure it will soon.

Views expressed are the author’s own. 

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Hailey Baldwin’s Twitter Exit Is Yet Another Reminder Of The Toxicity Breeding Online
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