There are times when Twitter is an ugly mirror.
On Sunday morning, a controversial topic started to trend worldwide on the micro-blogging social media site: domestic violence. With a hashtag of #reasonstobeatyourgirlfriend, thousands of comments flooded in.
Most were stupid jokes, like: #reasonstobeatyourgirlfriend thinking shark week is an actual week, posted by mattteps.
Or jabs at Chris Brown: #reasonstobeatyourgirlfriend Your momma named you ChrisBrown =X, ( posted by mAndapeee).
But then there are some that bordered on serious: #Reasonstobeatyourgirlfriend she disrespected your mom and homies ( posted by imdynastydenise ).
What is perhaps most disturbing about this trending topic is to see how many female users are participating in the "joke." It's depressing enough to think that the topic was being propagated by moronic teenage boys, but it's even worse to think that some women actually find it funny.
Jokes or no jokes (and is a joke about domestic violence ever really a joke?), by Monday the topic had been largely hijacked by people disgusted by the fact that such a repulsive element of our society was trending.
Jezebel.com congratulated everyone who helped it become a trending topic in a post, saying these people were proving why feminism is still needed in this day and age.
Feministing.com has opted for their own social media attack on the topic. They are pushing a new hashtag, #140reasonsdvisnotajoke ("dv"stands for domestic violence). To help spur this trend, they have asked people to link to one of their post that lists 140 women who were killed by a lover or a family member.
Other tweeters who are upset about the unsavoury trend are petitioning Twitter to remove the trend all together. By 3 p.m. on Monday, the petition had gathered 2,481 supporters. But still no response from Twitter.
One of the more sobering protest tweets has come from a user called tweety_coco, who posted: #reasonstobeatyourgirlfriend - a free breakfast ... domestic violence is never acceptable or a joke!
In her message, she linked to the shocking story of a 16-year-old who was convicted of murdering his on-again-off-again girlfriend, after he joked he'd do it for a free breakfast from one of his friends.
Breakfast. How different is that reason from one of those "joke" tweets?
Does Twitter have a responsibility to remove offensive trending topics?