IT’S TIME FOR TWITTER ABUSE TO STOP
In conjunction with Amnesty, we are publishing an open letter to Twitter, asking them to take decisive action on online abuse against women
HOW DO YOU feel when you hit ‘post’ on Twitter? Nervous, worried, vulnerable?
A new survey by Amnesty International found that 78% of British women who used Twitter didn’t think it was a place they could share their thoughts without violence or abuse – a stark indictment of the often misogynistic social media landscape. To top that, only 9% said they felt Twitter was doing enough to stop violence and abuse.
Threats of murder, rape and physical abuse are a reality for many prominent women. So Twitter’s #Hereweare ad campaign during the Oscars, designed to ‘stand with women around the world to make their voices heard’, was surprising. Twitter have repeatedly claimed they’re working on the problem of abusive trolls. Was this a valiant effort by them, or a cynical capitalisation on the #Metoo movement?
Today, Grazia publishes a letter, signed by UK women, who think it’s the latter. Model Leomie Anderson (right), one of the signatories, told us, ‘ Women are often told to suffer in silence. They face online violence and abuse for speaking out. Amnesty’s research shows that this often makes women censor themselves online – and enough is enough.
‘Speaking out together can be powerful. Let’s help more women be heard.’
Dear Jack Dorsey,
You say you want us to use Twitter to make our voices heard; to join you in saying #Hereweare. Well, Jack, Here We Are…
We’re exhausted, Jack. We’re tired of powerful men like you claiming to be our allies but not doing what is in their power to stop violence and abuse against women. We want deeds, Jack, not words.
We’re fed up of having to ask for change and action. But, here we go again.
This is where we are. This is what’s really happening on your platform.
Twitter is failing us. It’s a toxic place for many women; a place where too many of us feel unsafe. It’s a place where the trolls are winning and where violence and abuse against women is rife.
Every day on Twitter women are receiving misogynistic abuse and threats of physical and sexual violence.
Online trolls are using your platform to try and belittle, shame, intimidate, harass and silence us.
Our bodies, race, ethnicity, genders, sexualities, disabilities and opinions – our very identities – are the target of violence. Jack, you’re failing us. You’re not properly enforcing your own rules. Your reporting system isn’t working effectively. You’re not disclosing how many reports of violence and abuse you’re receiving. And you’re not being transparent about how your company is interpreting and responding to these reports.
We’re strong, brave, powerful people. We have the right to speak equally, freely and safely, without fear of attack.
We want to speak out on Twitter. We want to say #Hereweare. But we want to say that without fearing for our safety.
Jack, you have the power and privilege to make real change here and set an example for how social media companies can tackle violence and abuse against women. Use it.
Kate Allen, director, Amnesty International UK Dr Helen Pankhurst, CARE International UK Laura Bates, founder of the Everyday Sexism Project Caroline Lucas MP, co-leader, Green Party of England and Wales Lauren Mayberry, Chvrches singer, songwriter Sophie Walker, leader of the Women’s Equality Party Leomie Anderson, model and founder of LAPP the Brand Amna Abdullatif and Shaista Aziz, co-founders, Intersectional Feminist Foreign Policy Leanne Woods AM, leader of Plaid Cymru and assembly member for the Rhondda Jennie Kermode, chair of Trans Media Watch Iman Abou Atta, OBE, director Tell MAMA Bee Rowlatt, chair Mary On The Green Campaign Cllr Seyi Akiwowo, Newham councillor and founder of Glitch!uk Ellie Hutchinson and Katie Scott, co-directors, The Empower Project Sam Smethers, chief executive, The Fawcett Society, End Online Misogyny Dr Mary-ann Stephenson, director, UK Women’s Budget Group V Irene Cockroft, women’s suffrage historian Professor Anna Birch, Mary On The Green Campaign Deborah Frances-white, The Guilty Feminist Podcast Amelia Womack, deputy leader, Green Party of England and Wales Joanna Cherry, QC, MP Women’s March London Kezia Dugdale MSP, former leader of Scottish Labour and co-founder of Women 50:50