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.
This #HereWeAre Twitter commercial just gave me chills. That was stunning.— Awesomely Luvvie (@Luvvie) March 5, 2018
Now. Twitter, we shall await your continued work to make this platform safer for women who look like those in that commercial.
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.
I thought the same. The commercial made me cry, but then so has #twitter many times, so the irony is thick.— Jessica Craven #DemCast (@Craven7Jessica) March 5, 2018
Beginning of commercial:— [email protected] (@ChiBDM) March 5, 2018
Wow, this is so inspiring. Whatever product this is, is gonna make the world a better place.
End of commercial:
TWITTER?!? WHAT IN THE FLYING FUCK ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT?!?
I liked the commercial a lot. But @Twitter has looked the other way for years while harassment of ran rampant on their platform.— 𝘋𝘠𝘓𝘈𝘕 𝘑𝘖𝘉𝘌 (@DylanJobe) March 5, 2018
They need to do A LOT better before that ad will feel authentic.
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.
How about you spend the money you used on this ad to hire moderators to kick accounts that terrorize women off your platform?— Ella Dawson (@brosandprose) March 5, 2018
How about you hire more engineers who aren’t men to build your platform so that you don’t have giant blind spots putting users at risk? #HereWeAre https://t.co/RBDtfYkKQY