Influencers’ Impact on #MeToo Movement

In mid October, hashtags and social media posts stating “MeToo” surfaced on Facebook and Twitter. It is a call to action for women to repost the hashtag to magnify the prevalence of sexual harassment and sexual assault. According to a report by RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network), “every 98 seconds, an American is sexually assaulted,” which is evidence that sexual assault is a major issue. An infographic from the same report provided statistics of sexual assaults on women:

Graphic illustrating the statistic that 1 in every 6 American women has been the victim of an attempted or completed rape in her lifetime (14.8% completed, 2.8% attempted).

This issue affects women’s lives and underscores the need for generating awareness. Here is an example of a Facebook post supporting the movement:

Although it has recently garnered popularity, this campaign is not new. Tarana Burke (@TaranaBurke) started this movement more than 10 years ago. However, it “broke the Internet” when actress Alyssa Milano posted on Twitter:

Since the date of Milano’s posting, the use of the hashtag has skyrocketed:

The use of #MeToo via Keyhole

Other influencers have provided a huge reach for the movement. Here are some top tweets from influencers via Meltwater:

Not only have influencers taken to social media to speak up, but several stories have been carried by media outlets. The Los Angeles Times covered stories about celebrities such as Reece Witherspoon and America Ferrera ,who were both sexually assaulted at young ages.

According to KeyHole, the reach for this phrase was 3,876,166 and the number of impressions 3,970,567. Here are the top two tweets (based on Re-Tweets and Likes) on Twitter via KeyHole:

The campaign also includes men. Here are some posts from influential males:

Now, #MeTooMen is also trending. To address the prevalence of men who are victims of rape, the aforementioned report from RAINN developed the following infographic on college males who are at risk of sexual assault:

Infographic depicts that male college students are at a higher risk than non-students of the same age to experience sexual assault or rape. Male students ages 18-24 are five times more likely than non-students of the same age to experience sexual violence.

According to KeyHole, it has a reach of 456,400 and 517,578 impressions. The use of the hashtag since Milano’s original tweet:

Use of #MeTooMen via Keyhole

In today’s digital age, the ability for news to spread is pervasive — especially on social media websites. Influencers, like actors/actresses and musicians have the ability to use this platform to advocate for causes that are important to them. As for this particular campaign, based on the data discussed in this post, influencers have generated significant discussion and awareness regarding this issue on both social media and via other news outlets. Without the social media campaign that Alyssa Milano’s tweet sparked, many stories would not have been shared. Both influencers and regular people are proving to the world that there are real stories behind sexual assault statistics and that victims of sexual assault and harassment should not feel alone.

For more statistics on sexual assault, please visit the RAINN website:

Do you think influencers are the reason this campaign went viral? Would it have gone viral if celebrities were not involved? Would the media give it as much coverage if influencers were not involved?

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2 Responses to Influencers’ Impact on #MeToo Movement

  1. Carson Mlnarik says:

    Wow, thank you for writing this piece and compiling these Keyhole statistics, Krista. I knew this was a huge hashtag from my own social media accounts but I had no idea its reach was this large. I think this is a really important social media movement that inspired a lot of celebrities and everyday people to be courageous and come forward with their experiences. That being said, I think it was almost exclusively influencer driven. If there were not celebrities involved, it might have been a popular hashtag on Twitter for a day or two and inspired a BuzzFeed article or two, but in my opinion, it would not have nearly the same magnitude. Every time another noteworthy performer came forward, there was an accompanying CNN or Entertainment Weekly article; every tweet and celebrity became news. For better or worse, a non-influencer just can’t generate the same national buzz and can really only exist within their own circle. I think, however, this movement shows a positive side to influencer culture. There are so many Kardashian-sold products on Instagram and models promoting protein shakes but this simple hashtag really shows that the influencer model can be instituted to cause social change and awareness.

    • Krista Tillman says:

      Thank you for your response! As you could most likely tell, I agree with you when you say that it would not have gone as viral as it did without the immense celebrity support. Since they have such strong voices online, it is easier for messages to be heard when it comes from these individuals.

      Also, I agree with you on the point you made about how this is a positive example of influencers using their power. I believe that influencers should promote more socially responsible campaigns– rather than focusing on advertising products.

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