Although I am not a huge fan of “I hope this letter finds you well” platitudes, I do use it with all sincerity since we spiraled into this global pandemic. So, I hope you are doing great and stay healthy.
The pandemic, political developments, the growing popularity of social media during lockdowns and more, have created an online-environment in which it is an incredible challenge to separate the good actors from the bad actors, and I have great respect for the way in which Twitter keeps improving their quality filters.
Unfortunately, there are moments in which it appears that the available rules and filters are applied too rigidly, and even more unfortunate, that happened to a very dear friend of mine. Melissa Sassi, known on Twitter as @mentorafrika, made a mistake with a comment on your platform. In the heat of the moment, she believed to have made a funny comment and now looking back at that same comment, she is aware that without the context of “the joke”, her comment was not smart and should not have been posted. Yes, even smart people like my friend Melissa can make mistakes and yes, it is good that Twitter picked this up and reacted. Nobody argues with that, especially not Melissa.
However, there is another side which appears to be overseen and which also gives a lot of people, including myself, the feeling that the reaction by your team is disproportional. Assuming that you are not aware of the details, let me safe you the time of looking into it. Melissa Sassi has been suspended from Twitter and there is no indication that this will be lifted.
Here is what I would like you and your team to consider. Melissa is a fantastic person who means a lot to a global community of young leaders. She organizes global events to learn new skills, encourages young people to believe in themselves and gives them the tools and skills to make the best of their lives.
Melissa is available when someone reaches out for support, and always inspires people to go the extra mile.
And Melissa is an amazing friend, too, I must add. Just a swell gal!
You can probably imagine that her Twitter account is an important channel to reach out, promote the amazing events she organizes, invite people around the globe to join her keynotes and all the other good stuff she does. Not being able to use her Twitter account to reach out to her community is not only rather harsh penalization for Melissa herself. I do believe it is also a very harsh and disproportional penalization for her community.
On behalf of that amazing community, and on behalf of myself, I kindly request you to review this case and lift the suspension of Melissa’s account as soon as possible. Melissa is aware of what wend wrong and will make sure it will not happen again.
Her community of young ambitious and often underprivileged leaders need Melissa and all the good things that she does for them. In an era where our youth is already deprived of too much, and the underprivileged youth became even more underprivileged, there are moments where doing the right thing becomes a bit more important than it usually is, and I strongly believe that this is such a moment.
Will you do the right thing, Jack?
With kind regards,
Dr. ir Johannes (JD) Drooghaag