Santa Clara County District Attorney's office leaves Twitter, citing rising hate speech

Jeff Rosen, the district attorney for Santa Clara County — California's largest county prosecutor's office — deactivated its official Twitter account Tuesday, citing rising hate speech on the social media platform following its takeover by billionaire Elon Musk.

In a statement posted to Twitter on Monday, Rosen wrote, "As Americans, we have the freedom to loudly express our political opinions and strongly disagree with each other. However, when that speech crosses the line into hatred, racism and antisemitism, all of our precious and hard fought freedoms are undermined and our democracy is weakened."

"Every American has a moral obligation to fight against hate speech," the statement continued. "There are many ways to do that, large and small. Here's one way: Quit Twitter."

In this photo illustration, the image of Elon Musk is displayed on a computer screen and the logo of twitter on a mobile phone. / Credit: Muhammed Selim Korkutata / Anadolu Agency
In this photo illustration, the image of Elon Musk is displayed on a computer screen and the logo of twitter on a mobile phone. / Credit: Muhammed Selim Korkutata / Anadolu Agency

In a statement published to the district attorney's office website, Rosen cited the "hatred, bigotry and antisemitism on the platform and Twitter owner Elon Musk's own statements and posts, such as a meme used by racists and antisemites," as the reasons for the official departure. Rosen accused Musk of hiding behind a curtain of free speech while using the platform to spread hatred and make money, subsequently eroding democracy and destroying the country by pitting Americans against one another.

"That is what many Germans did in the 1930s and what many South Africans did in the 1980s. It is what Elon Musk is doing in the 2020s," Rosen said in the statement.

Since Musk's takeover of the social network, hate speech against LGBTQ+ people, Jewish people and Black people has increased, according to research from the Center for Countering Digital Hate that shows slurs against Black people on Twitter more than tripled the 2022 average under Musk's leadership, while slurs against LGBTQ+ people rose 58%.

Musk has been criticized for re-instating previously banned Twitter accounts, including accounts belonging to former President Donald Trump and rapper, Kanye West, who has since been suspended for "inciting violence" with antisemitic posts. The NAACP and the ADL have both called for Twitter boycotts as a result.

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Rosen called upon other district attorneys across the U.S. to leave Twitter in the wake of rising hate speech as well, writing, "We proudly represent the People, all of them. As American prosecutors, we speak with one voice – against crime, violence, greed, and hatred."

"We don't need 280 characters or a Billionaire's app to say, 'Bigotry has no home in the land of the free and the home of the brave.'"

At the time of publication, the Twitter account for the Santa Clara DA's office remains deactivated. Rosen said those interested in staying informed of his office's actions can keep up with them on Facebook or on their official website.

CBS News has reached out to Twitter for comment, and is awaiting a response.

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