How The #MeToo Hashtag Shows The Power Of Social Media For Social Good
In the wake of the Harvey Weinstein scandal, millions of women have been using the #MeToo hashtag to stand against sexual harassment. The phrase has been repeated over 10 million times in the past couple of days, across the main social channels. The speed in which the trend has spread, and the solidarity shown by online users, demonstrates the sheer power of social media for social change.
It was actress Alyssa Milano who started things off, when she tweeted her friend’s suggestion that women who have faced sexual assault or harassment should post “Me too” to their status.
If you’ve been sexually harassed or assaulted write ‘me too’ as a reply to this tweet. pic.twitter.com/k2oeCiUf9n— Alyssa Milano (@Alyssa_Milano) 15 October 2017
Milano’s original Tweet has now been retweeted over 21,000 times, and liked over 43,000 times. It’s generated a further 59,000 comments.
Over on Facebook, more than 8,000,000 people are talking about the trend right now. The hashtag has been used over 400,000 times on Instagram, too.
The trend doesn’t just illuminate the sheer scale of the problem - it also highlights social media’s power for good. Social media gives a voice to those who may otherwise be left unheard. It has the ability to bring people together, and enable users to realise that they are not alone.
Social media is often criticised for failing to crack down on hate speech and bullying, but it’s moments like this that really demonstrate its true value. It’s important to note that this trend follows on from Milano’s Charmed co-star Rose McGowan’s #WomenBoycottTwitter protest, after her account was temporarily suspended during the Weinstein row.
Will keep this thread updated with our progress. We’re doing a daily meeting to ensure more urgency— jack (@jack) 16 October 2017
The protest led Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey to promise changes to anti-harassment policies, stating that he will address “unwanted sexual advances, non-consensual nudity, hate symbols, violent groups, and tweets that glorify violence”.
Sure, social media has its flaws. But it’s a type of media that can empower, strengthen and unify people across the world. In a time full of tension and uncertainty, it’s an invaluable tool for today’s youth - and the rest of us.