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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.
Uhhh... So for the past 24 hours @Wendys & @LittleDebbie have been hosting a talk show on Twitter.— Alex Zalben (@azalben) March 8, 2018
Their guests have been @MoonPie & @PopTartsUS (subbing in for @DennysDiner, who never showed up).
This website is free, etc etc pic.twitter.com/3cKEiz9kon
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.
This— 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"— Shane McCartny (@McSports3) March 9, 2018
What're you talking about? No it isn't. We pay a small piece of our soul every time we log on.
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:— A. Marmot ❄️Underground❄️ (@_Anunnery) March 18, 2018
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
These are all fair points!
"WHY IS THIS WEBSITE FREE"— ALL SAID IT ALL BEFORE BRO (@ALLCAPSBRO) March 18, 2018
WELL THEY'RE SELLING UR CIVILITY AND UR SOUL AND UR USER DATA SO I DUNNO HOW FREE IT IS
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.