'Twitter is failing us': High-profile women, MPs, women's rights organisations and celebs pressure Twitter CEO to tackle online abuse

Helen Pankhurst, Caroline Lucas MP, Laura Bates and Lauren Mayberry are four of the more than 20 high-profile women calling on Twitter to tackle online abuse

“Twitter is failing us” – Letter to Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey

Women’s rights organisations, politicians, celebrities and activists have put pressure on Twitter’s CEO Jack Dorsey to do more to keep women safe from the violence and abuse against women which is rife on the social media platform.

In a letter published by Amnesty International and signed by more than 20 high-profile women, including Dr Helen Pankhurst, CARE International UK; Caroline Lucas MP, Co-leader of the Green Party; Laura Bates, Founder of the Everyday Sexism Project; Lauren Mayberry, frontwoman of band Chvrches; Deborah Frances-White, of The Guilty Feminist Podcast and Kate Allen, Director of Amnesty International UK.

The letter calls out Twitter for its recent claim – broadcast during the Oscars ceremony - to “stand with women around the world” and for its encouraging of women to tweet #HereWeAre. The letter points out the irony in this claim by explaining how in reality Twitter is “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.”

The letter follows the publication of a new Amnesty report last month, which exposed how Twitter is failing to respect women’s rights. An Amnesty survey of more than 1,000 British women found that only 9% of British women think Twitter is doing enough to stop violence and abuse against women.

The human rights organisation has warned the social media company that it must take concrete steps to improve how it identifies, addresses and prevents violence and abuse against women on the platform.

Letter to Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey

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, ethnicities, 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.

Sincerely,

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 

Women’s March London

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 of the 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, 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

Kezia Dugdale MSP, former leader of Scottish Labour & co-founder of Women 50:50

To join the call and tell Twitter’s CEO Jack Dorsey that he must clean up #ToxicTwitter please visit www.amnesty.org.uk/toxictwitter

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