The Directorate of the Research Center “Transformations of Political Violence” (TraCe) has decided to leave the social network X (formerly Twitter). TraCe, among other things, promotes the scientific search for peace. Since the takeover by Elon Musk, the social network has moved in the opposite direction.
The BMBF-funded interdisciplinary research center has been investigating transformations of political violence since 2022. The center aims to identify the consequences of political violence for peace within society and between nations, and seeks to develop strategies to contain political violence under changing conditions. Twitter/X, on the other hand, “is currently responsible for so many fake news and for fueling violence that a center for violence research in particular should no longer be involved with this platform,” says TraCe co-spokesperson Prof. Dr Astrid Erll from Goethe University Frankfurt.
Since registering on Twitter in August 2022, TraCe has gained almost 650 followers from various communities and countries. TraCe wants to communicate its content beyond the “familiar” circle of institutions and individuals and thus engage in a public dialogue, for which Twitter/X at the moment still offers the greatest reach. However, the arguments against the social network prevail: “How public communication regarding political violence is shaped is also our responsibility as researchers. The space that X has created is increasingly counterproductive,” adds TraCe co-spokesperson Prof. Dr Jonas Wolff from PRIF - Peace Research Institute Frankfurt. In addition, the TraCe knowledge transfer team has observed that new followers have often turned out to be bots and that the reach of posts with external links is decreasing. Last but not least, many TraCe members have left X with their personal accounts.