Twitter has been a vital resource for organizing, growing and sustaining many movements. The site frequently sets the news agenda, and plays a critical role in documenting and broadcasting human rights abuses around the world that might otherwise go unnoticed. It keeps us updated on trending topics and continues to host interesting conversations around our most viral cultural moments - including the potential end of Twitter itself.
The theme of this year’s Mozilla Festival is “Collective Power of the People.” So, what would collective power lose if it lost Twitter? In advance of MozFest this March, we bring you two conversations discussing this very question. Join us by tuning in!
Johnetta Elzie is a writer, protester, organizer, and co-founder of Campaign Zero. She is known for documenting the events of Ferguson on Twitter, starting in August 2014. Michael Brown Jr. and the uprising in Ferguson forever changed Elzie’s life and is a motivating force behind her work now. She works to organize sustainable change in cities across the country, and her writing on social justice issues has been published by Teen Vogue, Ebony, and Anxy Mag. In 2015, she sat on the planning team for both mappingpoliceviolence.org and wetheprotesters.org, which provide police accountability and organizer resources.
Steven Renderos is the Executive Director of MediaJustice, a national racial justice organization that advances the media and technology rights of people of color. For the past decade, Steven has led campaigns at MediaJustice that lowered the cost of prison phone calls, secured net neutrality rules, and got Donald Trump kicked off of Twitter. Steven is a regular commentator on media, technology, and racial justice, appearing in publications like the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, and The Guardian.
Lorena Regattieri is a social-environmental-climate justice tech, digital strategist and movement builder. As an activist and communications advisor, she has more than 15 years dedicated to campaigns, mobilization and collective action supporting grassroots movements in Brazil. In 2021, she completed her PhD in Communication and Culture from the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ) with the thesis “Algorithmization of life: the debate about the Amazon forest and the forest fires on Twitter in 2020”.
Bridget Todd is a frequently cited expert, trainer, and speaker on combating disinformation and extremism online, advocating for social media platform accountability, creating safer digital experiences for women and other marginalized people, and celebrating and amplifying marginalized people’s contributions to tech and the internet. She created her critically acclaimed podcast. There Are No Girls on the Internet to explore how marginalized people show up online in response to the lack of inclusion in conversations around the internet, and recently hosted Mozilla's award-winning podcast IRL. As Director of Communication for the national gender-justice advocacy organization Ultraviolet, Bridget regularly meets with leadership from platforms like Reddit, Twitter, Facebook, and TikTok to advocate for and develop policy recommendations to make digital experiences safer and more inclusive. Bridget’s writing and work on technology, race, gender, and culture have been featured in the Atlantic, Newsweek, the Nation, the Daily Show, and several other outlets.
Mahsa Alimardani is an Internet researcher focusing on freedom of expression and access to information online in Iran. Her research aims to understand communications ecologies within Iran’s information control space. Mahsa has worked on digital rights in Iran since 2012, in various capacities within civil society. She does research on freedom of expression online in the MENA region with the human rights organization ARTICLE19. Mahsa is also a Senior Information Control Fellow with the Open Technology Institute, and a Graduate Resident of the Bonavero Institute of Human Rights.
Odanga Madung is a data journalist, researcher and Mozilla Fellow, specializing in exposing corruption and misinformation in Kenya, and pushed social media platforms like Twitter to confront it. Madung has produced research reports on how disinformation was used to attack Kenyan journalists, judges, and other members of civil society; to discredit the Pandora papers; to sway conversations on reproductive health rights via Twitter; and to spread election disinformation on TikTok. You can find his byline in the Guardian, WIRED and Buzzfeed News.
Abeba Birhane is a cognitive scientist researching human behavior, social systems, and responsible and ethical artificial intelligence (AI). Her interdisciplinary research explores various broad themes in cognitive science, AI, complexity science, and theories of decoloniality. More specifically, Birhane examines the challenges and pitfalls of computational models (and datasets) from a conceptual, empirical, and critical perspective. Abeba’s fellowship will focus on auditing canonical datasets as well as exploring ways to clean and detoxify large scale datasets, including the governance models needed to maintain and manage those datasets.
Morehshin Allahyari (Persian: موره شین اللهیاری), is a NY based Iranian-Kurdish artist using 3D simulation, video, sculpture, and digital fabrication as tools to re-figure myth and history. Through archival practices and storytelling, her work weaves together complex counternarratives in opposition to the lasting influence of Western technological colonialism in the context of SWANA (Southwest Asia and Nort Africa). Her work has been part of numerous exhibitions, festivals, and workshops at venues throughout the world, including the New Museum, MoMa, Centre Pompidou, Venice Biennale di Archittectura, and Museum für Angewandte Kunst among many others. She is the recipient of The United States Artist Fellowship (2021), The Joan Mitchell Foundation Painters & Sculptors Grant (2019), The Sundance Institute New Frontier International Fellowship (2019), and the Leading Global Thinkers of 2016 award by Foreign Policy magazine. Her artworks are in the collection of the Whitney Museum of American Art, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, and the Current Museum. She has been featured in The New York Times, BBC, Huffington Post, Wired, National Public Radio, Parkett Art Magazine, Frieze, Rhizome, Hyperallergic, and Al Jazeera, among others. Photographer Antonia Colodro
And our moderator for both conversations is Xavier Harding, former tech journalist and content producer at Mozilla Foundation. Prior to Mozilla, Xavier wrote for publications like The Markup, Mic and Popular Science. At Mic, Xavier won a Webby Award for his story on HBO’s Insecure and how the show’s cinematographer properly lights dark-skinned actors, despite most camera tech being calibrated against light skin.