Friday, 13 October, will be remembered as the day women across the world took a day off from Twitter to protest sexual harassment, the company's apparent inability to contain abuse, and lax security that has, over the years, allowed a colony of vicious trolls to grow and thrive.
#WomenBoycottTwitter was trending nationally in India at 10 AM and women joined hands in solidarity to log off from Twitter — a self censorship of sorts — to force the social media giant to formulate better policies to control, regulate and punish accounts that issue death, rape and maiming threats to women, stalk them repeatedly and abuse and bully them on a regular basis with no serious consequences.
Women maintained that it will not silence their voices, but will stop Twitter from making money by exploiting them.
Recently, several women wrote to Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey when he announced the newest policy of allowing longer — 280 characters, instead of the traditional 140 characters — tweets, and asked him to focus on women's safety on the platform instead.
This is a demand that Twitter's faced for years. Malicious, and mostly anonymous, trolling has turned the platform — one of the most vibrant communities in the online space for sharing moments, news, views and images — into an infestation.
Indian women are hoping that their silent protest will help bring the focus back on the subject.
According to the Guardian, the Twitter boycott started it suspended Rose McGowan, one of the accusers of film producer Harvey Weinstein, who is facing several sexual assault allegations, for violating its terms and policies. It kicked off at midnight in New York.
This was Twitter's response.
We have been in touch with Ms. McGowan's team. We want to explain that her account was temporarily locked because one of her Tweets included a private phone number, which violates our Terms of Service. 1/3— Twitter Safety (@TwitterSafety) October 12, 2017
Here are the women tweeting in solidarity:
I'm logging off Twitter for 24 hours, starting 9:30am IST on Friday, to demand better anti-harassment policy. Join us!#WomenBoycottTwitter— Rega Jha (@RegaJha) October 13, 2017
I'm participating in #WomenBoycottTwitter in the hopes that it will make Twitter change their harassment policies. Bye guys.— Meenakshi Madhavan (@reddymadhavan) October 13, 2017
...and out of here for a day #WomenBoycottTwitter— Veena Venugopal (@veenavenugopal) October 13, 2017
Okay see you guys tomorrow. #womenboycotttwitter— BookOfGenesia (@genesiaalves) October 13, 2017
I'm boycotting twitter tomorrow because women are consistently harassed by accounts who in turn face no consequences. #WomenBoycottTwitter— Bindas Ladki (@bindasladki) October 13, 2017
And it wasn't just women who decided to go silent for a day. Men joined in as allies too.
In support of all those ladies who are boycotting @twitter for 24 hours for a better anti-harassment policy. I'll be back tomorrow.— Omar Abdullah (@OmarAbdullah) October 13, 2017