Twitter Uses #MeTooIndia For Publicity, Without Making It Safe For Women
Mumbai-based entrepreneur Nisha Bora was not entirely prepared for the vitriol that came gushing at her on Twitter when she accused artist Jatin Das of sexually harassing her. Earlier this year, emboldened by many women taking to Twitter, among other social media platforms, to share stories of harassment, abuse and assault, Bora spoke about her ordeal on Twitter using the hashtag #MeTooIndia. Around the same time, I had reached out to her for an interview about the environment-friendly products her company creates. The 43-year-old requested me to wait for a couple of weeks because the attention and the backlash — abuse and judgment, sometimes from anonymous handles — had taken a massive toll on her physical and mental health.
While most of this was unfolding on Twitter, Bora did not reach out to the company to help stem abusive tweets. “I didn’t reach out to Twitter, because I expected nothing to happen had I even reported the trolls. In my experience in the past, I had tried reporting tweets that I found to be hateful and offensive towards women, but Twitter responded stating it doesn’t violate their standards. My guess is that unless it is really gruesome or graphic or inciting violence, Twitter does not act. So my expectations are on the floor,” she told HuffPost India.
Bora’s frustration with Twitter is a familiar sentiment among women users across India, and around the world. So when the micro-blogging site released a commercial targeting Indian users and claimed a tweet can launch movements like #MeTooIndia among others, it felt extremely opportunistic. People who have followed the #MeToo movement will probably remember how Twitter suspended actor Rose McGowan’s account in 2017 when she called out producer Harvey Weinstein for assaulting her. It really couldn’t get more ironic than this.
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