Saudi men call for 'no girls on Twitter'

User @Hawazen__Q8 tweeted this photo along with fighting words: "Show me the man who started this hashtag!" Image copyright Twitter/@Hawazen_Q8
Image caption User @Hawazen__Q8 tweeted this photo along with fighting words: "Show me the man who started this hashtag!"

Thousands of Saudi men are trying to drive women off Twitter - but the effort seems to have backfired.

Gender segregation is the norm in Saudi Arabia, and it appears some people want that to extend to social media networks too. An Arabic hashtag which translates as "We don't want girls on Twitter" was mentioned almost 400,000 times over the weekend. Its origins are unclear - BBC Trending couldn't locate the first tweet using the tag.

But it didn't quite go as those behind it seemed to have intended - in fact many of those who joined in seemed to be against the segregation of the sexes online. Women took to tweeting jokes decrying the tag, and some men pitched in as well.

"Why? What have we done?" cried one user with mocking emojis.

"This is the person who started the hashtag," tweeted another, above a picture of a goat.

One user pointed out a maxim heeded by advert writers and nightclub owners the world over. "If there were no girls on twitter," said @arts121, "no man will sign up."

Some women also started a hashtag "We don't want men on Twitter" in retaliation - but it only gathered around 1,500 tweets.

Reporting by Mai Noman

Blog by Mike Wendling

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