Time Magazine just named a hashtag as the Person of the Year (sort of)

Time Magazine just essentially named millions of people — and a hashtag — as its Person of the Year. On Dec. 6, the publication gave the annual title to “The Silence Breakers,” the women (and men) standing up to sexual harassment by speaking up, creating a worldwide movement across industries from Hollywood to Washington. Time says that the movement doesn’t have a single, unifying leader, yet has sparked a worldwide revolution giving victims of sexual harassment the courage to speak up.

What’s interesting is that Time also put the spotlight on the #MeToo hashtag that trended on Twitter and other social media. The movement gained significant traction after actress Alyssa Milano invited Twitter users to post with #MeToo. The actress created the Tweet after a New York Times article exposed multiple allegations against producer Harvey Weinstein for sexual harassment. Overnight, the tweet saw over 30,000 replies with the hashtag, while in two weeks the phrase saw 1.7 million Tweets in over 85 countries and spread to multiple social media platforms.

“These silence breakers have started a revolution of refusal, gathering strength by the day, and in the past two months alone, their collective anger has spurred immediate and shocking results: nearly every day, CEOs have been fired, moguls toppled, icons disgraced. In some cases, criminal charges have been brought,” Stephanie Zacharek, Eliana Dockterman, and Haley Sweetland Edwards wrote for Time.

While Time says the movement doesn’t have a single leader, the publication has named several women across multiple industries that helped spur the movement, including Milano, actresses Rose McGowan and Ashley Judd; Senator Sara Gelser of Oregon; journalists Wendy Walsh, Megyn Kelly, and Sandra Muller; and former Uber engineer Susan Fowler. Singer and songwriter Taylor Swift is included in the list for countersuing a radio DJ for $1 just so she could speak out on the harassment.

The women in positions that make their names well known are also giving courage to other working women, including a group of hotel workers now pressing charges and women holding titles from dishwasher and strawberry picker. “When a movie star says #MeToo, it becomes easier to believe the cook who’s been quietly enduring for years,” the Times article reads.

The movement is being powered by the women finding the courage to speak up, but their voices have arguably been spread, at least in part, through social media. Time calls #MeToo both a hashtag and a rallying cry. The hashtag was even translated or adapted into different languages including #YoTambien and #BalanceTonPorc, a French phrase that would be the equivalent of #RatOutYourPig in English, while other tags also called out harassment, including #womenboycotttwitter. According to a survey conducted by Time,  82 percent thought women are more likely to speak out after the Weinstein harassment case that sparked #MeToo and 85 percent say they believe those women speaking out. While the phrase “me too” can be traced to activist Tarana Burke, when the phrase was first used more than ten years ago, MySpace was the most popular platform.

“We’re still at the bomb-throwing point of this revolution, a reactive stage at which nuance can go into hiding,” Zacharek, Dockterman and Sweetland Edwards concluded. “But while anger can start a revolution, in its most raw and feral form it can’t negotiate the more delicate dance steps needed for true social change. Private conversations, which can’t be legislated or enforced, are essential.”

The Silence Breakers isn’t the first time Time has named a group of people as the Person of the Year — other groups earning the title include The Whistleblowers in 2002 and American Women in 1975.


4 women innovators who are using tech to help others live better lives

Meet four women leaders who are not only at the forefront of technology today, but also using tech — from robotics and medicine to food and undergarments — to help others.

Amazon slices prices in half for AeroGardens smart indoor garden, today only

AeroGardens can grow up to six plants at one time. The plants grow in water, not soil, so you never have the mess of outdoor gardening in your clean home. This method allows the plants to grow five times faster than if they were planted in…

Patreon is having another go at changing the way it charges creators

Patreon messed up pretty badly the last time it tried to change its payment system. Now it's having another go, though this time the changes mainly affect future sign-ups rather than its current community of creators.

Amazon slashes $77 off the iRobot Roomba 690 multisurface robot vacuum

This special offer comes just in time for you to get a head start on spring cleaning. The Roomba 690 robot vacuum sucks up dust, dirt and pet hair — all while you're away at the office.
Social Media

Yep, it’s not just you. Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp are down for many

Facebook's family of apps has been suffering issues for much of the day. Instagram, WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, and Facebook itself have been out of action for users around the world, with the company scrambling to sort it out.
Social Media

Facebook may soon let you watch live TV with friends in Watch Party

Facebook Watch Party is designed to allow friends to watch together, even when they can't be in the same physical space. Now, that feature could be expanding to include live TV. Facebook announced a test of the feature, starting with live…
Social Media

Federal investigation digs into Facebook’s data-sharing deals

Facebook confirmed it is cooperating with a federal criminal investigation. According to a report, the company is under investigation for sharing user data with smartphone and tablet companies.
Social Media

Facebook explains its worst outage as 3 million users head to Telegram

Facebook, if you didn't already know it, suffered a bit of an issue on Wednesday, March 13. An issue that took down not only its social networking site, but also Instagram, WhatsApp, and Messenger. On Thursday it offered an explanation.

Snapchat could soon let you play games in between your selfies

If a new report is accurate, Snapchat will be getting an integrated gaming platform in April. The platform will feature mobile games form third-party developers, and one publisher is already signed on.
Social Media

Twitter is testing a handy subscription feature for following threads

Twitter has recently started testing a feature that lets you subscribe to a thread so that you’ll no longer need to like a comment or post to it yourself in order to receive notifications of new contributions.
Social Media

Your Google+ public content will remain viewable on the web, if you want it to

Google's failed social network — Google+ — will soon be wiped from the internet, but there's a team of volunteers working right now to save its public content for the Internet Archive.

There’s more space on MySpace after ‘accidental’ wipe of 50 million songs

MySpace is no longer a safe refuge for music and media produced in the 2000s. It said that almost any artistic content uploaded to the site between 2003 and 2015 may have been lost as part of a server migration last year.

Intel and Facebook team up to give Cooper Lake an artificial intelligence boost

Intel's upcoming Cooper Lake microarchitecture will be getting a boost when it comes to artificial intelligence processes, thanks to a partnership with Facebook. The results are CPUs that are able to work faster.
Social Media

New Zealand attack shows that as A.I. filters get smarter, so do violators

The shootings in Christchurch, New Zealand were livestreamed to social media, and while stats show networks are improving at removing offending videos, as the system improves, so do the violators' workarounds.