Today is a very interesting day in the history of Twitter, it is the day of the #twittersilence, amazingly, a lot of people – including Twitter users, don’t understand what the hell it is. You might have heard of the abuse ‘feminist campaigner’ (As she has been dubbed) Caroline Criado-Perez received after a successful campaign to get a respected woman (apart from the Queen) on our Banknotes. The abuse was disgusting and disturbing, she was threatened with rape, and violence – by a handful of what can only be described as vile C-UNiTs. I’ve seen lots of the tweets, and the level of abuse is jaw dropping.
Twitter, as a company didn’t do much to stem the abuse, accounts weren’t closed, and the vile stream of tweets at Criado-Perez continued. From what I gather she had to report the abuse to the Police, and they have taken the action.The fact that Twitter doesn’t have the facility to ‘report abuse’ and close the accounts of such disgusting individuals immediately has irked a lot of people.
The result is #twittersilence ,where today, on ‘International Friendship Day’, Twitter users are meant to stay silent as a protest to Twitter’s seeming lack of care to its users. If those partaking in the #twittersilence REALLY are so incensed by the practices of Twitter, why don’t they have a permanent silence, and leave? If you’re at a party where the host is a knob, generally, you won’t stay, and if the host has irked enough of the guests, everyone will leave.
The #twittersilence campaign has been headed up by well known Twitter users, such as Caitlin Moran, Sarah Millican, Emma Kennedy, and many others. Interestingly though, the main victim isn’t actually taking part. The general idea is that the ‘Silence’ will ‘show solidarity’ towards victims of threats of rape, violence and abuse.
People have argued that the internet is full of trolling and abuse, and we should just accept that it’s ‘part of the internet’, whilst trolling is there, we should NEVER accept it. It should be reported to the relevant authorities, and if deemed illegal, then action taken. Whilst social networks and websites should definitely have the facility to report abuse, it’s up to the authorities themselves to decide what are threats or abuse and what is or isn’t legal. The Daily Mail have reported (Google it, I’m not linking to them!) that a few of the ‘attackers’ of Criado-Perez have been arrested and investigated. Twitter / Facebook etc will work with Police when they need to and provide information / IP addresses of alleged criminals and obviously have done so that these people have been arrested.
Silence is a powerful tool, but is it a tool to protest against about threats such as those towards Criado-Perez and others received, honestly, no, I don’t think it is. Silence is not a way to deal with these things, standing up, making noise and pointing the finger at the perpetrator is the only way forward.
The past year has seen many people standing up and using their voice to report the hideous acts that Jimmy Saville, Stuart Hall etc performed on them as children. Their silence has been held in some cases for over 40 years, the power of a few standing up and breaking the silence has empowered many more to admit what has happened to them, they have BROKEN the silence.
I really don’t know what the answer is, but I don’t feel silence is it – stand up, be counted..
Break the #twittersilence !
Update – Found this interesting link on Twitter about how Caitlin Moran isn’t always whiter than white when it comes to her own tweets on Storify