Aside from pockets of overt racism, one of the more weirdly unpleasant corners of Twitter comes from its “promoted” content. What ostensibly started as a tool for big-name brands to drive the “reach” and “impact” of whatever message they might be promoting, it’s since devolved into another kind of marketing tool that’s just kind of…. weird. Not weird in the tracking-you-everywhere-you-go kind of way, but weird, in the just plain weird way.
Not unlike the bonkers hallucinations reported by patients on death’s door, the spammy, click-baity, and sometimes downright disturbing promoted tweets cropping up onto people’s feeds are symptomatic of Twitter’s own ad platform rotting from the inside out.
Here’s a recent example: This week, freelance journalist Tyler Coates apparently had a grisly promo for an organ-buying service crop up onto his feed.promoted tweet pic.twitter.com/NfxrpVBCpY
— Tyler Coates (@tylercoates) February 12, 2020
There is something profoundly broken in our economic system.