SmartFactory-KL ends activity on social media platform X (formerly, Twitter)

  • A responsibility to science
  • A refusal to participate in the deception​

Elon Musk is known for his bizarre position statements. Until now, SmartFactoryKL
has deferred to this circumstance. But that is changing. “To remain on X would mean giving our tacit support to comments and tendencies that we do not share,” said Dr. Ingo Herbst, head of communications at SF-KL, “which is why we will not continue to use the platform.”

The discussion is not new
SF-KL has been active on Twitter, now X, using the account @SmartFactory-KL since August 2016. The company has established a community of shared interests in topics related to Industrie 4.0, shared production, operational safety intelligence, and data rooms. “Developing a digital network takes years of work,” admits Herbst, “but, in good conscience, we can no longer participate in an environment of unfounded allegations, half-truths, and smear campaigns.” Herbst does not name any specific trigger event, but says the discussion has been underway among the communications team for quite some time, more intensively since Elon Musk’s purchase of Twitter. In general, the tone has sharpened on all platforms, but X now seems most blatant. “Objective and constructive communication is drowned out there by false claims and loudly expressed opinions,” said Herbst. Discussions on the platform are no longer about gaining new insights. Musk fuels the space with provocations and services a right-wing clientele, who thrive on baseless, emotional responses to any topic. “Twitter has developed over time into an unsavory platform. This is unfortunate for those who have done and are doing good work,” said Prof. Martin Ruskowski, chairman of the management board of SmartFactoryKL. “X is increasingly irrelevant to us. The access figures for X are steadily sinking and our network tends to use LinkedIn,” added Herbst.

Science and Facts
In principle, SF-KL performs with an underlying basis of facts and findings. “We supervise many PhD dissertations where careful and precise analysis is especially important. All scientific research work must be accurate and correct. That is the DNA of any scientific institute,” said Ruskowski. Musk, on the other hand, creates confusion – enabling the spread of unverifiable information deliberately and routinely, and not only on his X platform. He also uses right-wing media channels to spread his personal ideology about climate change, politics, immigration, and other topics. Herbst says “Such an environment is of no interest to us and we choose not to belong to it.” The goal of SF-KL is to sketch out realistic scenarios, based on data and research results. For example, SF-KL develops many artificial intelligence tools in the context of the manufacturing factory of the future. “Our positions differ from many populist assumptions simply because we have access to clear findings, which we rely on to back up our statements. The truth is that AI is neither cure-all, nor curse. Basically, all we want to do is contribute to factual public discourse and, in the near future, we will be doing this only on LinkedIn,” said Ruskowski.

As of 1/1/2024, the account @SmartFactory-KL will no longer be maintained on X. The account, however, remains available with all Tweets.

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