The Tomato

Users of the extension are unable to access Twitter. Photo: CC, Fibonacci, edits by Christine Wang.
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Users react to missing 280 character hate speech, lack of real-time news

A University of Ottawa student has created a Google Chrome extension to block hate speech online. The tool is largely successful but has exhibited some unforeseen side effects. In practical tests by students it has been revealed that the extension makes it impossible to access Twitter.

“I couldn’t access Twitter at all when I had the extension installed,” said third-year political science student Sharon Mockett. “My first thought was that something was wrong with Twitter, or my laptop had died in some weird way. I was actually oddly relieved to find out everything was working fine and that Twitter’s just the garbage hole I always knew it was”

On most sites the extension simply blocks the instances of hate speech that are displayed. It appears that Twitter is so full of hate speech and verbal abuse that the extension has decided it would be more efficient to simply block users from accessing Twitter at all.

“It took me a long time to realize that this was the extension working properly, instead of a glitch or problem,” said Graham Erikson a third-year computer science student. “Maybe one day Twitter will enforce some of their own policies and the extension won’t recognize the entire site as hate speech.”

After being asked for insight on when that day would come, Erikson replied, “I guess it could happen in the same way we’ll go to Mars. Lots of people are talking about it but I’m not expecting to see anything in my lifetime.”

Some users focussed on the possible technical failings of the extension, while others reflected on what they were missing without Twitter. “I kind of miss seeing what terrible things people are saying about whatever the news of the day is,” lamented Natalie Johnston. “I’m really gonna miss Trump’s tweets, I always thought I’d find out from Twitter when the nuclear apocalypse started.”

There have been critiques of this extension, with some wondering if those losing Twitter will be less informed about what’s happening in the world. “Sure they’re blocking the hate speech, but then they won’t be able to see what truly awful things are being said by various elected officials around the world. How are you going to function if you’re not constantly up to date on who’s saying garbage they won’t be held accountable for?” said Emily Vincent, a second-year communications student.

It’s now up to readers to decide if this valuable extension is worth possibly being out of the loop on the latest shitty news of the day.