Get Our Newsletter

Tech Cocktail

Domestic Violence Trends On Twitter and Community Backlashes

#reasonstobeatyourgirlfriend on Twitter

If you are not outside enjoying the beautiful summer weather and heat today, and instead stayed inside and connected to Twitter you may have noticed a very long and disturbing trending topic in the hashtag #reasonstobeatyourgirlfriend. We generally do not cover hashtags or Twitter trends, but in this particular case there has been a bit of a movement by some of Twitter’s users to have Twitter remove this from the Trending Topics list as it insinuates the use of domestic violence. Currently, the petition started by DC-based Allyson Kapin founder of Women Who Tech has just over 1000 Twitter signatures.

According to Tweetreach, the hashtag has had well over half a million impressions, but since Twitter limits the number of tweets used in reports to 1500, we believe it is actually much higher. After some research, it looks like the hashtag started picking up in the early hours of July 31st and new uses of the tag keep pouring in. Who was the first to use it?  We’re still trying to confirm, but it looks like this may have been the tweet to start it all. He followed it with at least 60 more tweets using the same hashtag (there are more but that’s when I stopped counting).

Twitter User

Of course, Tech Cocktail does not promote this type of behavior and would likely delete any comments posted on this site that encouraged violence. But on an open communication utility like Twitter it raises the question of censorship and what level of censorship Twitter should assume, keeping in mind that tools like Twitter and Facebook have actually contributed towards overthrowing governments. Look at some of the uses of the hashtag to understand how the Twitterverse is utilizing it. What if the hashtag was harsher and used the word “kill” instead of “beat”? Would that change your opinion?

So the big question – how much should Twitter censor Trending Topics like this one? Take the poll below.

Get more delivered to your inbox just like it!
Get Our Newsletter
Sorry about that. Try these articles instead!
About the Author'

Frank Gruber is the founder, CEO and Executive Editor of Tech Cocktail. He is an entrepreneur and new media journalist focused on sharing his tech product expertise and analysis on emerging technologies. Previously he built products for millions of users while at AOL and Tribune Company. He is a startup advisor and investor. He is the author of the book, Startup Mixology, Tech Cocktail’s Guide to Building, Growing, and Celebrating Startup Success. Find Frank Gruber online and follow him on Twitter at @FrankGruber.


3 Responses to “Domestic Violence Trends On Twitter and Community Backlashes”



    People use these hashtags for soem silly things on Twitter. Business use hashtags to follow serious topics. Networkers use hashtags to connect. Seeing a trend on a topic about beating another person is just the same as hashtags about beating "the gays," raping little girls, kill the black people, bomb the muslims, I hate —– because, lets bully johnny at school today. Its all hateful and violent. Why should this be allowed to trend?

    The pertinent question is what mechanisms does Twitter have in place to monitor what trends at any given time and determine if it is filtered as slanderous, hateful, violent or bad in nature?

  2. @alexzealand

    In my circle, concern around the hashtag started because twitter itself was censoring some hashtags and not others. Specifically, @libraryleah tweeted:

    #reasonstobeatyourgirlfriend hashtag allowed to trend on Twitter & #fuckyouwashington was censored? Abuse of women is ok, but swears aren't?!/libraryleah/status/97726400

    I am not pro-hashtag censorship, and I recognize that twitter is a company that kindly allows me to use their platform for free, and thus has the right to make their own rules. But I am troubled if twitter deliberately chooses to censor one over the other.

    In comparison, Tumblr hasn't been hurt by allowing people to use "fuckyeahsomething-or-other" for their handles. In fact, more and more traditional news sources show up on tumblr every day.


  1.  Domestic Violence References and the Internet « Media Assault
  2.  Full Bibliography « Media Assault

Leave a Reply

  • (will not be published)