This artist graffitied the worst tweets he could find, right outside Twitter's office.

The man's eyes bulge down at the ground. All around him, it is littered with spray-painted, stenciled messages.

Their contents, written in a mix of English and German, are vile. The skin crawls to read them.

"Let's gas some Jews together," reads one stencil.


"Gays to Auschwitz," reads another.

The nose automatically wrinkles just looking at them.

The man shakes his head. "I work in an advice center for Roma and Sinti so we're used to this kind of racist bullshit. But these..."

"These are all tweets," the cameraman says. "Tweets," the man repeats quietly. He seems shocked and a little sad.

For the past six months or so, German artist Shahak Shapira had been reporting and flagging inappropriate tweets like these to little avail.

Shapira used Twitter's reporting to flag about 300 of them, he told The Associated Press. Most of his complaints went unanswered, and whenever he'd check back, the majority of the tweets were still visible.

Feeling ignored and frustrated, Shapira decided there was one sure-fire way to get heard.

Early in the morning, Shapira and a crew of workers arrived on the doorstep of Twitter's German headquarters in Hamburg and proceeded to stencil roughly 30 of the worst ones right on their doorstep.

For a lot of people, this is already what social media feels like. Image from Shahak Shapira/YouTube.

A video of people's reactions to the display was published on YouTube on Aug. 7, 2017. The camera captures a man in a collared shirt walking by. He gazes at the tweets. "It's just disgusting," he says.

For a distressing number of people, stumbling through hateful messages on social media is a daily struggle.

For some, scrolling through our social media feed is relatively benign. The problem of harassment or hateful language can seem unimportant — because it's easy to ignore a problem when you don't see it.

But the truth is that there are many people who do have to see these kinds of things every day. Harassment and online abuse have been a problem for years. A Pew Research poll found that as many as 4 of every 10 internet users has experienced harassment.

And if your job is linked to work on social media, as many of ours are these days, you don't really have a choice about whether you have to see this.

By thrusting this language into the real world, Shapira has made it hard to ignore. If people don't want to tolerate this graffiti on the streets, maybe we shouldn't tolerate it on the internet either.

You can watch the full video below:

Twitter did not comment on the "artwork," although the AP reports that by Aug. 9, about half of the stenciled tweets had been removed online.

Canva

As millions of Americans have raced to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, millions of others have held back. Vaccine hesitancy is nothing new, of course, especially with new vaccines, but the information people use to weigh their decisions matters greatly. When choices based on flat-out wrong information can literally kill people, it's vital that we fight disinformation every which way we can.

Researchers at the Center for Countering Digital Hate, a not-for-profit non-governmental organization dedicated to disrupting online hate and misinformation, and the group Anti-Vax Watch performed an analysis of social media posts that included false claims about the COVID-19 vaccines between February 1 and March 16, 2021. Of the disinformation content posted or shared more than 800,000 times, nearly two-thirds could be traced back to just 12 individuals. On Facebook alone, 73% of the false vaccine claims originated from those 12 people.

Dubbed the "Disinformation Dozen," these 12 anti-vaxxers have an outsized influence on social media. According to the CCDH, anti-vaccine accounts have a reach of more than 59 million people. And most of them have been spreading disinformation with impunity.

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Photo by Daniel Schludi on Unsplash
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The global eradication of smallpox in 1980 is one of international public health's greatest successes. But in 1966, seven years after the World Health Organization announced a plan to rid the world of the disease, smallpox was still widespread. The culprits? A lack of funds, personnel and vaccine supply.

Meanwhile, outbreaks across South America, Africa, and Asia continued, as the highly contagious virus continued to kill three out of every 10 people who caught it, while leaving many survivors disfigured. It took a renewed commitment of resources from wealthy nations to fulfill the promise made in 1959.

Forty-one years later, although we face a different virus, the potential for vast destruction is just as great, and the challenges of funding, personnel and supply are still with us, along with last-mile distribution. Today, while 30% of the U.S. population is fully vaccinated, with numbers rising every day, there is an overwhelming gap between wealthy countries and the rest of the world. It's becoming evident that the impact on the countries getting left behind will eventually boomerang back to affect us all.

Photo by ismail mohamed - SoviLe on Unsplash

The international nonprofit CARE recently released a policy paper that lays out the case for U.S. investment in a worldwide vaccination campaign. Founded 75 years ago, CARE works in over 100 countries and reaches more than 90 million people around the world through multiple humanitarian aid programs. Of note is the organization's worldwide reputation for its unshakeable commitment to the dignity of people; they're known for working hand-in-hand with communities and hold themselves to a high standard of accountability.

"As we enter into our second year of living with COVID-19, it has become painfully clear that the safety of any person depends on the global community's ability to protect every person," says Michelle Nunn, CARE USA's president and CEO. "While wealthy nations have begun inoculating their populations, new devastatingly lethal variants of the virus continue to emerge in countries like India, South Africa and Brazil. If vaccinations don't effectively reach lower-income countries now, the long-term impact of COVID-19 will be catastrophic."

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