Christmas on Twitter's street - The not-so-sunny side of the tech boom

Summary:San Francisco agreed to give Twitter tax savings of over $56m in exchange for help in transforming one of San Francisco's poorest neighborhoods.

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Outside the golden doors of Twitter’s mid-Market Street HQ is a far different world from the thousands of coddled tech workers that live inside, with free food, free laundry, free apartment cleaning, and the freedom to come and go home.

Here’s a photo essay from a walk down the not-so-sunny-side of Twitter’s street I took on Christmas Day. 

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 Twitter is bound by agreements with the city to help gentrify the neighborhood in exchange for more than $56m in tax savings. The company said it donated $60,000 in “sponsored Tweets” to local charity groups. 

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 By keeping workers indoors all day and offering services to their staff that compete with local businesses, there is little sign of anything changing in the Tenderloin, one of San Francisco’s poorest neighborhoods.


 Not much has changed except evictions and small shops closing as developers speculate by building office space and luxury apartments, “in the heart of SF.”


It’s interesting that Twitter often boasts of its community-oriented corporate philosophy, yet through its demands for large tax savings and the resulting loss of millions of dollars for important city services, it chooses to be a burden on its neighbors rather than ease the daily burdens of the less fortunate.



Topics: Tech Industry


In May 2004, Tom Foremski became the first journalist to leave a major newspaper, the Financial Times, to become a full-time journalist blogger. He writes the popular news blog Silicon Valley Watcher--reporting on the business of Silicon Valley. Tom arrived in San Francisco in 1984, and has covered US technology markets for leading comput... Full Bio

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