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Arts and Entertainment

Comedian Joe Mande Quits Twitter 'Until They Figure Out How To Remove The Actual Problematic Accounts'

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Joe Mande performing stand-up. (Photo by Joe Scarnici/Getty Images)
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Joe Mande, stand-up comedian, writer for shows like Parks and Recreation and The Good Place, and experienced Twitter troll, has announced he will stop using the social media platform, comparing it to the dysphoric experience of smoking cigarettes dipped in embalming fluid. He criticizes the website's apparent inconsistencies with addressing digital violence from its users.

He cites his repeated suspension on the app for responding to anonymous trolls with the phrase "suck my d***," which Twitter deemed a violent threat. He mentions how his time on Twitter has desensitized him to various slurs and other forms of harassment, and said that the website hasn't done enough to legitimately deal with the rampant harassment that occurs on the platform.

Mande has spent years as a Highly Visible Twitter User, going so far as buying a million followers and posturing as the unofficial spokesperson for LaCroix sparkling water (#lacroixboys for life).

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Mande's decision to leave comes in the wake of many Twitter users decrying the ways in which the website regulates its users. Rose McGowan instigated a daylong female boycott of Twitter last week following her brief suspension from the site (she posted the personal phone number of a Hollywood executive's assistant in a screenshot while explaining her experience of sexual assault within the entertainment industry). McGowan found fault in her suspension considering Twitter chose not to delete a tweet from President Trump that North Korea considered a "declaration of war."

McGowan's #womenboycotttwitter led some users to question why a similar response didn't follow the online abuse directed at Leslie Jones or Jemele Hill's suspension from ESPN following her tweets about President Donald Trump and calling on football fans to boycott advertisers of NFL teams who didn't support their players' right to protest. A #WOCAFfirmation call to arms emerged the same day as #womenboycotttwitter to shed light on the disparity of action when women of color make similar complaints as white women, or receive similar unfair treatment. Both responses point at similar problems with the slush of abuse that occurs on Twitter and the site's lack of accountability in most cases.

Mande's decision to leave Twitter also reflects the growing problem at the social media site's doorstep: where the line exists for regulating the speech on the platform, and whether the attempts so far have led to the amplification of the most abusive segments of the web. For example, because of anti-Nazi legislation in Germany and France, Twitter is required to hide Nazi symbolism for the German and French versions of the website. No such requirement exists for the American setting.