#MeToo hashtag network visualization

Erin Gallagher
Oct 20, 2017 · 4 min read

Extraordinary network graph of #MeToo shows a massive online movement, demonstrating the pervasiveness of sexual harassment and assault.

The Me Too movement was started more than 10 years ago by Tarana Burke, but the above tweet by Alyssa Milano on October 15 set off the hashtag #MeToo and activated a global cascade of personal stories from women and some men discussing their experiences of sexual harassment and/or assault.

I started capturing #MeToo tweets on October 16 and collected tweets over a period of 31 hours. The network froze my computer several times just trying to make preliminary visualizations. I’ve never seen a network so dense before. I thought I made a mistake and re-checked my work several times to be sure it wasn’t an error. I also consulted with a few friends who work with gephi. Formations like this are apparently rare but possible.

Graph # 1: 24,722 #MeToo tweets

24,722 #MeToo tweets — October 16 to October 18, 2017

This graph of 24,722 #MeToo tweets contains 25,218 nodes, 16,183 edges and 10,709 communities. I have never seen a hashtag network with so many communities before. The dense areas filled with what looks like white dots are tens of thousands of small groups of people connecting in the #MeToo hashtag. There are too many groups for me to color each one but I tried to color enough of them to show that those are not white dots randomly floating around in this network.

24,722 #MeToo tweets — October 16 to October 18, 2017
24,722 #MeToo tweets — October 16 to October 18, 2017

This is just a sample of #MeToo tweets, the hashtag spread around the world with over 1 million tweets in 48 hours and over 12 million posts, comments and reactions on Facebook in less than 24 hours.

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The Telegraph published additional statistics of the #MeToo hashtag. 30% of people who tweeted the hashtag were men and most of the traffic came from retweets of people boosting other people’s stories.

Source: The Telegraph

Word cloud of other hashtags associated with #MeToo:

LoQueSigue_ made an animated map of #MeToo activity around the world:


The Spanish version of #MeToo also went viral in Spanish language social media. I collected 21,852 #YoTambien tweets from October 16 to October 18. The following #YoTambien network graph contains 17,006 nodes, 15,040 edges and 4,685 communities.

21,852 #YoTambien tweets October 16 — October 18, 2017

A Pictoline infographic from October 17 (see below) went viral, so the Pictoline account dominates the conversation of the Spanish hashtag. The rest of the conversation happening under #YoTambien is similarly dense and multi-color indicating a large, organic conversation spread among many people on Twitter.

21,852 #YoTambien tweets October 16 — October 18, 2017
21,852 #YoTambien tweets October 16 — October 18, 2017

Here’s the Pictoline tweet shown in the above graph. The tweet says:

It’s not only Harvey Weinstein
It’s doesn’t only happen in Hollywood
It doesn’t only happen to a few women

The #MeToo & #YoTambien hashtags resonated with Spanish speakers. It wasn’t the first time a hashtag about sexual assault exploded in Spanish language social media; a similar trend went viral in 2016. #MiPrimerAcoso (my first assault) also caused a massive cascade of personal stories from women about their first experience being sexually harassed or assaulted. LoQueSigue_created this interactive map of 19,607 #MiPrimerAcoso tweets from April 24 to 26, 2016.

The #MeToo trend spread to many other languages and countries:

Tarana Burke initiated the Me Too movement over 10 years ago. She tweeted a 2014 video of her speaking in Philadelphia at the March Against Rape Culture, here is the text:

“Me Too is a movement to, among other things, radicalize the notion of mass healing. As a community we create a lot of space for fighting and pushing back but not enough for connecting and healing. It’s a long and varied process for everyone and each and every one of us has a different entry point on to the journey to heal from our experiences. But the one thing that we have in common is the ability at some point in our journey to reach back and create an entry point for another woman. Some of us start by telling our stories. For those who are ready and able, standing up and saying ‘Me Too’ can be a deeply cathartic experience.” — Tarana Burke

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