Friday the 13th of this year is indeed a bad day for social media giant Twitter.
Women across the world are joining hands to leave the platform for 24 hours to protest against sexual harassment on Twitter and the company's inability to control vicious abuse dished out by the growing number of trolls.
#WomenBoycottTwitter has been trending nationally in India from 10 am and this campaign of self-censorship, is meant to awaken the social media platform to the need for stringent policies to control, regulate and take action against against abusive accounts.
Over the years, many women have complained of verbal abuse in the form of death and rape threats, stalkers and online bullying. But there has be little or no response on the part of Twitter.
How will women going silent help their cause? Well imagine, how embarrassing it would be for a company, when thousands of women and men users strike for a day over harassment and let the world know about it. Twitter is now facing the backlash for failing to act against and therefore protecting cyber bullies.
The boycott reportedly started internationally after Twitter suspended the account of Rose McGowan, an American actor who accused Hollywood film producer Harvey Weinstein of sexual harassment. The social media giant that cannot contain trolls who upload explicit images or make blasphemous comments, accused McGowan of violating its terms and policies.
In India, the boycott began at 9.30 am on Friday and will continue till 9.30 am on Saturday.
Joining this campaign are prominent journalists and celebrities.
I’m logging off Twitter for 24 hours, starting 11AM IST on Friday, to demand better anti-harassment policy. Join us!#WomenBoycottTwitter— Pracheta Budhwar (@PrachetaB) October 13, 2017
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
Even singer and entrepreneur Chinmayi Sripada, who has been a victim of vicious trolls in the past has boycotted the platform in solidarity with women all over the world.
She had even started a petition in March on Change.org to block users who issue rape threats from their Twitter handle. This was soon after she was faced with a series of rape threats on the micro-blogging site. According to her petition, some Twitter users even warned her of an acid attack and other forms of assault. Shaken by the responses she received for 'expressing her opinion', the singer decided to report the threats to Twitter. But she was told no action will be taken till a police complaint is filed.
Even men took to Twitter to protest the site's apathy towards the abuse of women.
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