San Francisco Supervisor Dean Preston has left X, formerly known as Twitter, after the owner of the platform Elon Musk called for his imprisonment.
Preston, the Board of Supervisors’ sole democratic socialist, said he left X because he’s experienced an increase in hate speech and disinformation since Musk took over the company.
The final straw, Preston said, was when Musk called for his imprisonment over legislation that would narrow the circumstances in which store security guards can draw their firearms.
“Twitter is increasingly just a right-wing platform spreading hate and disinformation, and less and less useful for public discourse and discussion,” Preston said. “Maybe the straw that broke the camel’s back was when the owner publicly stated he wanted me arrested.”
Preston, who had served as a regular lightning rod on the platform, faced intensified criticism this week over his affiliation with the Democratic Socialists of America, which critics say failed to condemn the attacks on Israel over the weekend.
Preston released a statement saying he was heartbroken by the attacks but also condemned Israel’s response on the Gaza strip.
“I reject the targeting of unarmed people, apartment buildings, and other nonmilitary targets, which are clear violations of international law,” Preston wrote in a statement on his website Monday.
“Israel’s announcement today of a ‘complete siege’ of the Gaza strip, including cutting off electricity, food, and fuel, is unconscionable,” he continued.
Some called for him to denounce the local Democratic Socialists of America chapter, which said in a statement that they “support the Palestinian people’s, and all people’s, right to resist and fight for their own liberation.”
Preston told The Standard that criticism related to the Democratic Socialist of America’s response to the attacks didn’t influence his decision to leave the platform.
The supervisor took to his newly minted BlueSky profile on Thursday to express hope of finding a space without internet trolls.
“Encouraged by what I’ve seen on this platform,” Preston posted. “Onwards!”
David Sjostedt can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org