Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram are 'a disease'
Linus Torvalds, the creator of the Linux operating system that secretly runs the internet and is the basis for Android, was recently asked what he would change about the tech world that his technology helped create, if he could.
His answer: social media.
"I absolutely detest modern 'social media' - Twitter, Facebook, Instagram. It's a disease. It seems to encourage bad behavior," Torvalds told the Linux Journal's Robert Young.
This is interesting criticism from a man who has often been accused of being uncivil to other programmers on Linux email lists. Torvalds is known as a brilliant, funny, and speaks-his-mind kind of guy who is generally fair-minded but doesn't tolerate fools.
That personality means he's publicly dressed down people whose work, or motivations, fell short of his standards. Years ago, he defended his behavior when a developer from the chipmakerIntel publicly called him out for it and told him to knock it off because it was not only unprofessional but was also driving away newbies and others who wanted to contribute to Linux. He shrugged off the criticism by responding, "People are different. I'm not polite, and I get upset easily but generally don't hold a grudge - I have these explosive emails."
Since then, the open-source world has started to confront how much bad behavior goes on its world with various communities and has adopted codes of conduct. In 2018, the main Linux community adopted a code of conduct, too. And along with that, Torvalds finally said his ehavior needed changing. He took time off to "get some assistance on how to understand people's emotions and respond appropriately," he said.
So Torvalds calling out social media for encouraging bad behavior is ironic. To be fair, as one of the most famous programmers, he's been the target of his fair share of online abuse, too. In 2015, he made a cheesy, funny video in which he read aloud nasty tweets about himself.
'If you cannot prove your identity, your crazy rant on some social-media platform shouldn't be visible'
Torvalds told Linux Journal that the internet eliminates all the social cues that are usually part of communications, so "nobody can hear you being subtle."
I have no special talent. I am only passionately curious.