Twitter phone

FILE - The Twitter application is seen on a digital device Monday, April 25, 2022, in San Diego. 

High-profile figures from across the political spectrum sometimes use their status to spew information that isn’t always factual, relevant or productive on social media.

It’s important that these people don’t let their fame delude them into forgetting about how their words impact real people’s lives.

Professional basketball player Lebron James wrote a tweet in April 2021 in response to a police officer shooting of a young Black girl in Ohio. Along with a picture of the officer, James tweeted, "YOU'RE NEXT. #ACCOUNTABILITY.”

James faced backlash from the tweet and deleted it shortly after. 

“I’m so damn tired of seeing Black people killed by police,” James continued. “I took the tweet down because it's being used to create more hate— this isn’t about one officer. It’s about the entire system, and they always use our words to create more racism. I am so desperate for more ACCOUNTABILITY.”

James was upset about another innocent person being killed by a police officer, but his tweet didn’t help the situation and was insensitive when a family just lost a loved one.

James may have saved his reputation by trying to sympathize with the family, but he initially neglected the loss. He saw a story on the news, got flustered and threw a tweet out without thinking about how it would affect others. 

It leads me to question: What we are teaching younger generations when we have adults who can’t compose themselves and fail to advocate for a cause properly? Instead, they get agitated and throw something into the biosphere without even thinking about it.

There are plenty of examples of harmful tweets. Singer Chris Brown tweeted eight years ago about the ongoing Ebola virus. 

"I don't know…But I think this Ebola epidemic is a form of population control. Sh-t is getting crazy bruh,” he tweeted.

Ebola was, in some ways, a prelude to the conspiracies we would see from the COVID-19 pandemic. Neither was population control, and these viruses led to the deaths of many people. How is that something to joke about or make a wicked conspiracy theory about? 

Some celebrities have lost their empathy for others by living in a bubble outside the regular world. I wonder if they fall under the illusion that saying something that negatively affects others is OK because of their wealth and status. If they do, that’s unacceptable.

While celebrities certainly have freedom of speech, they shouldn’t make light of the demise of other people. Doing so shows a pure lack of empathy. It’s foul for grieving families to witness tweets from their icons demonstrating that they have no heart for what’s happening worldwide. 

Conservative commentator Candace Owens, who uses her platform to sew doubt about American elections, is another example of a high-profile figure spreading misinformation.

"I don't know who needs to hear this but elections do not take days to count anywhere except in countries where elections are stolen. Stop gaslighting the public,” Owens tweeted on Nov. 4.

Owens is widely considered controversial, and on Twitter, that remains true, especially with an insipid tweet such as this one. 

First, she doesn’t share any sources she may have as to why elections shouldn’t take days and should be considered "stolen" if they do. So, the tweet remains inaccurate. 

Also, what authority does Owens have to say that elections in America are stolen because they take numerous days for votes to be in? For over a hundred years, no one has questioned the time it takes for elections to be completed. But suddenly, Candace has enlightened us on how elections are stolen if they take multiple days, as if that will alter the course of everything. 

An election can’t always take 24 hours. It’s a process, and it always has been. It doesn’t matter if that’s too long for Candance’s liking. 

It seemed Owens wanted something to tweet that day, so she rambled about something. It appears that James, Brown and Owens were tweeting to have something to say, even if it wasn't beneficial or well-considered.

I will always stand for everyone, including celebrities, to be free to say whatever they want, excluding hatred towards others. However, the examples above demonstrate how famous people can abuse their power by being insensitive and disregarding the impact of their words. Not to mention that in a society that loves cancel culture, a bad tweet could be career-ending.

For the sake of others—and even themselves—celebrities should keep their bad takes in their drafts.

Taylor Hamilton is an 18-year-old mass communication freshman from Tallahassee, Florida.

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