On Friday, October 13, Twitter users woke up to see the hashtag #WomenBoycottTwitter trending on the micro-blogging website.
This was an organic collective response initiated by female Twitter users against the company's allegedly insufficient policies to curb sexism that often allow trolls to pass under the radar. The trigger for this, though, was the suspension of actor Rose McGowan's Twitter account on Thursday.
Ms. McGowan had taken to Instagram on Thursday to post a screenshot of the message informing her that she was 'temporarily limited' from using her Twitter account. The message from the social media company said that while she is allowed to browse and send Direct Messages, she is not allowed to send out tweets or retweets.
The actor had been critical of the Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein, who is embroiled in a sexual assault scandal, and other celebrities who had supported him. She had also been vocal in her support for the alleged victims. Ms. McGowan's account suspension was criticised by many Twitter users, including actor Jessica Chastain and celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain. Though Twitter responded with a statement that said that it is "proud to empower and support the voices on our platform, especially those that speak truth to power," users were not satisfied.
The boycott, which is meant to last for 24 hours, has been adopted by many celebrities like Anna Paquin, Alyssa Milano, Mark Ruffalo and others.
Closer home, many women including journalists Barkha Dutt, Rega Jha and Dhanya Rajendran have supported the move. It was also supported by former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah, who tweeted "In support of all those ladies who are boycotting @twitter for 24 hours for a better anti-harassment policy. I’ll be back tomorrow."