Santa Clara County District Attorney Jeff Rosen announced Monday that he is joining the great migration off Twitter, due to the rise in incendiary messaging on the social media platform since its purchase by controversial billionaire Elon Musk.
"As Americans, we have the freedom to loudly express our political opinions and strongly disagree with each other," Rosen posted on the account @santaclarada.
"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. There are many ways to do that, large and small. Here's one way: Quit Twitter. My Office — the largest prosecutor's office in Northern California — is quitting Twitter."
Rosen in his resignation letter asked district attorneys across the U.S. to disconnect their offices from Twitter. He stated that his account will be deactivated on Tuesday. He has about 4,515 followers. People looking for information from the Santa Clara district attorney can follow the office on Facebook or the office website, https://countyda.sccgov.org .
Rosen's decision follows a chaotic stretch for the social media company, one that's included mass layoffs, confusing product rollouts and a documented rise in hate speech, all in the wake of Musk's takeover. Musk has predicated some of his decisions — including reinstating previously banned accounts — on the claim that he intends to promote "free speech" on Twitter.
Many public figures have left the social media site as a result. Last week, Board of Supervisors President Shamann Walton announced he was leaving Twitter after his account was hacked. Walton said he no longer felt compelled to "waste energy" using the site.
In spite of the recent tumult at Twitter, the service has remained a vital tool for conveying information by public agencies.
A spokesperson for Alameda County District Attorney Nancy O'Malley said her office uses Twitter only sparingly, usually to announce verdicts, and will continue to do so.
In response to a Chronicle survey, a spokesperson for Marin County's health department said last week that the agency will maintain its presence on the service.
"Thankfully, we have established a relationship with the majority of our residents and have built a reputation for providing factual, timely information," said Laine Hendricks.
Solano County's health department also will remain on social media platforms, officials told The Chronicle, responding to a query about Twitter on Tuesday. "We will continue to provide health education information through Solano's web site, social media, and community outreach efforts," they said in an email.
With more than 320,000 followers, BART is among the region's most popular public agencies on Twitter.
"BART is still using Twitter to post key information for our riders and the public, respond to customer service related tweets, and to share joyful transit content," said Alicia Trost, BART's chief communications officer. "We can't predict what we will do in the future but today we still have a very active audience and communication effort on Twitter."
Chronicle staff writer Ricardo Cano contributed to this report.
Sam Whiting is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer. Email: [email protected]
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