A list of incidents on Clubhouse over the past several months

NOTE: A few months ago, I began keeping loose threads on Twitter of serious harassment, abuse, misinformation, and other Clubhouse moderation issues. Because my tweets delete and the threads were broken, difficult to read and link to, I tried to aggregate them here as a record.

This thread is by no means complete and if you’ve experienced or witnessed harassment, abuse, extremism, disinformation, or scams on the app please shoot me a DM on Twitter @TaylorLorenz, I’d love to hear from you. Please be sure to record the incident.

Every successful social network reaches that pivotal moment when your Mom joins. Sometimes moms hear about a social platform on a 60 Minutes segment a week before the app itself is shut down, sometimes they absorb knowledge of its existence through the Today show, but once a network becomes broad enough, eventually everyone gets that text: “Honey! I’m finally on [insert app here!] how do I add you?”

The app in question will often be sandwiched between the default Apple applications that any coherent iPhone user would relegate to a junk folder. …

The look made famous by the platform just doesn’t resonate anymore

Photo: Kaori Sashida/EyeEm/Getty Images

As Instagram has grown to more than a billion monthly users, it has ushered in a very particular aesthetic: bright walls; artfully arranged lattes and avocado toast; and millennial-pink everything, all with that carefully staged, color-corrected, glossy-looking aesthetic. Photos that play into these trends perform so well on Instagram that the look became synonymous with the platform itself, then seeped into the broader world. Even if you don’t use the app, you’ve undoubtedly encountered an “Instagram wall,” a pop-up experience like the Museum of Ice Cream, or a brightly patterned restaurant bathroom just made to be photographed.

No one has…

Googling yourself has become a rite of passage

Photo: Michael Zwahlen/EyeEm/Getty Images

For several months, Cara has been working up the courage to approach her mom about what she saw on Instagram. Not long ago, the 11-year-old — who, like all the other kids in this story, is referred to by a pseudonym — discovered that her mom had been posting photos of her, without prior approval, for much of her life. “I’ve wanted to bring it up. It’s weird seeing myself up there, and sometimes there’s pics I don’t like of myself,” she said.

Like most other modern kids, Cara grew up immersed in social media. Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube were…

Without major fixes to the product, the platform will never be a place for complex discussions

Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Earlier this week, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey and the tech journalist Kara Swisher conducted a full 90-minute interview entirely on Twitter. The interview was meant to be an old-school “Twitter chat,” and users were instructed to follow along using the hashtag #KaraJack.

It was a disaster. Attempting to follow a public conversation happening on Twitter is “pretty much a mess right now,” Dorsey himself noted at a conference yesterday. The chat was so difficult to parse that Recode futilely attempted to collect Dorsey’s responses into a Twitter Moment. …

Teen girls are using a new format to express themselves and forge connections online

Photography: Inflouencing/Instagram

Meme accounts, with their blurry videos, screenshots, tweets, and TikTok clips, pioneered the Internet Ugly aesthetic. But now young teenagers and tweens have developed a new, more aesthetically pleasing format: the meme-and-theme account.

At first glance, a meme-and-theme page looks a lot like a general aesthetics account, a type of page dedicated to posting on a single color scheme or theme, like a digital mood board. Themes rotate frequently, but can be something as simple as all color-washed photos, celestial pictures, or any set of images that are visually similar. Administrators find the pictures on the image-sharing service We Heart…

Robert Bowers was an avid user of Gab, a social network popular among white nationalists and the alt-right

The FBI command center at the site of the mass shooting that killed 11 people and wounded 6 at the Tree Of Life Synagogue on October 28, 2018 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Photo: Jeff Swensen/Getty Images

Before a gunman opened fire on the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh Saturday morning, he posted a threat to the Jewish community online.

“HIAS [a Jewish nonprofit organization] likes to bring invaders in that kill our people. I can’t sit by and watch my people get slaughtered. Screw your optics, I’m going in,” the suspect, Robert D. Bowers, reportedly wrote. Just hours later, he killed at least 10 people and wounded others in what the Anti-Defamation League has declared the deadliest against the Jewish community in the history of the United States.

Bowers didn’t make his anti-Semitic statements on…

More teenagers are getting their information from so-called flop accounts

Photo: Instagram / Thanh Do / The Atlantic

It’s harder and harder to have an honest debate on the internet. Social-media platforms like Twitter, Reddit, and Facebook Groups are rife with trolls; forums are plagued by archaic layouts and spambots. Teenagers who are looking to talk about big issues face additional frustrations, like the fact that most adults on these platforms don’t take them seriously.

Naturally, they’ve turned to Instagram. Specifically, they’ve turned to “flop” accounts — pages that are collectively managed by several teens, many of them devoted to discussions of hot-button topics: gun control, abortion, immigration, President Donald Trump, LGBTQ issues, YouTubers, breaking news, viral memes.

Hotels are being forced to figure out how to work with a new class of brand-peddling marketers

Photo: NicoElNino/Getty Images

Three years ago, Lisa Linh quit her full-time job to travel the world and document it on Instagram, where she has nearly 100,000 followers; since then, she has stayed in breathtaking hotels everywhere from Mexico to Quebec to the Cook Islands. Often, she stays for free.

Linh is part of an ever-growing class of people who have leveraged their social media clout to travel the world, frequently in luxury. …

Years ago, the first thing a person did after officially entering into a relationship was run to Facebook and declare their relationship status via a drop-down menu. Facebook’s relationship status indicator was one of social network’s first features and it quickly became iconic.

It was a way to broadcast breakups, make ups, and blossoming love. Before we had Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram and even before Facebook had photos, it provided a window into people’s personal lives that had been previously been hidden.

But in 2017, the Facebook relationship status is dead and if you really want the world to know someone…

Taylor Lorenz

Journalist and guacamole connoisseur

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