@Twitter/Twitter

‘The irony is thick.’

Twitter ran its first-ever Oscars commercial Sunday, and users are detecting a strong sense of irony in its topic of choice: empowering women.

The company ran a one-minute ad in celebration of the female gender during the Academy Awards broadcast. The black-and-white spot featured a spoken-word poem performed by Denice Frohman, while footage of regular women and celebrities like Ava DuVernay and Issa Rae played in the foreground. Frohman’s poem is political and heartfelt, and the clip ends with the words “this is how you create a new world” before the screen goes blank—and the Twitter bird logo appears.

Viewers were invited to use the hashtag #HereWeAre to share their reactions, and the social network was obviously hoping to highlight its potential to be used for good—or “build a bridge,” as the poem says. But its users couldn’t help but build a bridge between the ad and the company’s ongoing struggle to establish a meaningful harassment policy.

Plenty of brands debuted #TimesUp-focused advertisements during the awards Sunday, but Twitter’s seemed to stand out to people in light of the company’s admitted harassment problem. It also seemed a bit much that the tech giant was trying to brand itself as a place where people can come to feel empowered, while the teenage survivors of Flordia’s Parkland shooting are facing harassment from Twitter conspiracy theory accounts accusing them of being paid actors.

Most users seemed surprised when, after enjoying Frohman’s poem so much, the big reveal turned out to be Twitter and not a women’s empowerment organization.

If the company is looking for ways to do better next time, one Twitter user had a simple suggestion: Take the money they’d spend on an expensive time slot and hire more moderators instead.

Christine Friar

Christine Friar

Christine Friar is a writer and editor in New York who focuses on streaming entertainment and internet culture. Her work has appeared in the Awl, the Fader, New York Magazine, Paper Magazine, Vogue, Elle, and more.

Upstream
Logan Paul loses another major gig following suicide video backlash
YouTube's self-proclaimed 'Maverick' remains in crisis mode.
From Our VICE Partners