Science and Tech

Twitter’s fastest-growing hashtags of 2020 suggest the internet isn’t such a terrible place

Patrick Kelleher December 19, 2020
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The hashtag "trans rights are human rights" saw a huge surge in popularity during 2020. (Chesnot/Getty)

The hashtag “trans rights are human rights” saw a huge surge in use on Twitter during 2020, the social media platform has revealed.

Twitter has released details of the most-tweeted hashtags, trends and topics throughout 2020 – and the statistics point to a growing awareness of trans rights.

Social media is often a toxic space for trans people, with an unfortunate lot using their online platforms to direct hate and discrimination towards marginalised groups, but the statistics suggest a growing number of people are prepared to speak out in support of trans rights.

According to statistics released by Twitter, the hashtag “trans rights are human rights” saw a 557 per cent rise when compared to the year before, making it the fastest-growing LGBT+ hashtag.

There was also a dramatic surge in the number of people using the rainbow emoji – commonly used by the LGBT+ community as a symbol of Pride – with a 20 per cent rise.

The hashtag “trans lives matter” increased in usage by 113 per cent. Similarly, “all Black lives matter”, which is often used to show support for LGBT+ Black people who sometimes find themselves left on the margins of public discussion, grew 112 per cent.

The hashtag “Black trans lives matter” also increased dramatically in usage in 2020, going up by 108 per cent, while the hashtag “LGBTQ” increased by 49 per cent in usage.

Unsurprisingly, the most used hashtag on Twitter in 2020 was “COVID-19”, with “Black Lives Matter” coming in second and “stay home” in third.

The most-liked and retweeted tweet of the year was the tragic news that Chadwick Boseman had died following a diagnosis of cancer, shared on 29 August from the late actor’s Twitter account.

It was a difficult year for trans people on Twitter.

The statistics come at the end of a challenging year for transgender people in online spaces, particularly on Twitter.

A number of high-profile users have used the platform to air unwanted views on trans lives, most notably Harry Potter author JK Rowling.

Rowling’s comments on Twitter were gleefully welcomed by anti-trans campaigners, who began using the hashtag “I stand with JK Rowling”.

Elsewhere, Father Ted writer Graham Linehan, who has positioned himself as one of the most strident and vocal anti-trans campaigners, was suspended from Twitter in June following “repeated violations” of rules “against hateful conduct and platform manipulation”.



More: trans rights are human rights, Transgender, Twitter

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