A 24-hour boycott took place on 3 August 2013 to protest against online trolls. (www.reputationforward.com)
A 24-hour boycott took place on 3 August 2013 to protest against online trolls (www.reputationforward.com)

Thousands of celebrity users logged off Twitter on Sunday, in a 24-hour boycott that has sparked debate across the internet.

The hashtag #Twittersilence was trending on Sunday morning, as discussion over its effectiveness continued.

The Times columnist Caitlin Moran was one of the prime movers for the boycott; she suggested that "all self-proclaimed pleasant people leave Twitter to the trolls for 24 hours", using the hashtag #trolliday.

Suzanne Moore, a Guardian writer was also taking part in the silent protest. She spoke out against online misogyny: "The majority of social media users: women, should not be subject to rape and death threats. And yes thanks I know full well the difference between disagreement and a description of dismemberment.

"We want the company hosting these threats to be less lackadaisical and be able to respond faster. We provide the content and can it take it elsewhere. There are other apps out there and Twitter has felt past its peak for a while anyway."

Prof Mary Beard was also due to take part in the Twitter boycott. But she returned to the microblogging site to reveal she had been subjected to a bomb threat, writing: "Planned to be off Twitter, but I've had more threats this morning (rape and worse). It IS still going on. Tried to report to Twitter, failed."

Female bloggers have been increasingly speaking out about misogynist comments, rape threats and death threats.

Kate Smurthwaite, an activist and author of Cruellablog, said: "I get abusive comments on my blog or under my videos. Some is straight up hate-speech: fat, ugly, desperate or a bitch who deserves to be slapped, hit or gang-raped."

However, not everyone is behind the action, arguing that such a silence will hand a victory to the trolls and misogynists behind the threats.

Feminist campaigner Caroline Criado-Perez, who received rape threats following her successful protest to put author Jane Austen on the £10 banknote, said she would not be taking part.

"Sorry, but I won't be silenced by anyone. Please respect how my choices, as I respect those of others," she wrote.

Novelist Bonnie Greer tweeted: "#twittersilence is well-meaning, but most folks in this world have no voice. Talk for them.Talk the trolls out.Talk for ourselves. #nosilence."