- People are not falling for these ICE ‘propaganda’ photos Sunday 4:23 PM
- CLIF Bar and KIND Snacks are in a bizarre social media war Sunday 2:55 PM
- Caillou is how tall? Sunday 1:32 PM
- No, that video of a Boston Dynamics robot attacking its creators is not real Sunday 12:40 PM
- Alex Jones places $1 million bounty on culprit who planted child porn on his InfoWars server Sunday 12:03 PM
- ‘Stranger Things’ star’s new Netflix prank show is receiving backlash Sunday 9:04 AM
- How to watch ‘City on a Hill’ for free Sunday 8:00 AM
- How to watch ‘Euphoria’ for free Sunday 7:00 AM
- Meet the home brewer turning beer into a case for net neutrality Sunday 6:30 AM
- How to watch the U.S. vs. Chile at the World Cup for free Sunday 6:15 AM
- 15 teen movies on Netflix that will make you laugh, cry, and cringe Sunday 6:00 AM
- How to watch Estrella TV online for free Sunday 5:00 AM
- People are roasting this ‘traditional’ take on marriage with a hilarious meme Saturday 5:17 PM
- The internet just collectively realized that the Neopets of the world must be hungry Saturday 4:00 PM
- Alt-right message board 8chan was served a search warrant Saturday 3:06 PM
The emotional cost of using Twitter? That’s a different story.
Twitter is a free website. We pay the price for using it in other ways (more on that later), but we’re not putting actual money down to retweet memes and express our hot takes. And, most of the time, it’s hard to imagine wanting to pay for a website that mainly serves as a time suck.
Sometimes, however, there are moments when Twitter seems too good to be free. Why? Because we get to witness hilarious interactions between strangers on the internet. Like a man who thought that LaCroix was a famous philosopher instead of a brand of flavored sparkling water.
THIS WEBSITE COSTS ZERO DOLLARS pic.twitter.com/eN3fiIUiMv
— soor ploom (@spindlypete) March 18, 2018
And this exchange between different brands of snack food/fast food is just great.
This website is free, etc etc pic.twitter.com/3cKEiz9kon
— Alex Zalben (@azalben) March 8, 2018
Tomi Lahren’s old tweets came back to haunt her, and someone pointed out her hypocrisy:
This website is free pic.twitter.com/fTZPR7Jbus
— med (@god_hates_jags) January 10, 2017
This man was forced to eat his own words after saying “none come to mind” when someone asked for examples of great female sculptors. The sculpture that was the topic of the exchange, however, was actually made by a woman.
— Julie Ann Horvath (@nrrrdcore) March 4, 2018
Posting screenshots of tweets with the caption “this website is free” or “this website costs zero dollars” has become something of a trend on Twitter. The format is simple: find an exchange that shows a person owning someone else, a person expressing an ill-informed opinion, or a weird interaction that you could never imagine happening outside of Twitter. It’s an immensely satisfying way to illustrate the ridiculousness of the internet. The tweets are also a way to help us cope with the emotional toll of using a website where harassment is rampant—especially for women.
But if this website emotionally affects its users—and collects data on them— is it actually free? Some people have answered that question with a big fat “no.”
“We pay a small piece of our soul every time we log on,” one person said.
"this website is free"
What're you talking about? No it isn't. We pay a small piece of our soul every time we log on.
— Shane McCartny (@McSports3) March 9, 2018
Another person reminded everyone that our “data is mined & sold for profit” and we experience the “emotional labor of seeing bad takes.”
I like the "this website is free" screenshots! Remember though:
1. Your data is mined & sold for profit
2. You are subjected to ads
3. Emotional labor of seeing bad takes
4. Every tweet you like leads to a net increase in entropy and brings us closer to heat death of the universe
— A. Marmot ❄️Underground❄️ (@_Anunnery) March 18, 2018
These are all fair points!
"WHY IS THIS WEBSITE FREE"
WELL THEY'RE SELLING UR CIVILITY AND UR SOUL AND UR USER DATA SO I DUNNO HOW FREE IT IS
— ALL SAID IT ALL BEFORE BRO (@ALLCAPSBRO) March 18, 2018
Yet the “this website is free” meme seems to suggest that Twitter produces enough gems to make the experience completely worth it. We hope that’s true.
Tiffany Kelly is the Unclick editor at Daily Dot. Previously, she worked at Ars Technica and Wired. Her writing has appeared in several other print and online publications, including the Los Angeles Times, Popular Mechanics, and GQ.