A hashtag against Democratic presidential candidate and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton broke records on Twitter Feb. 25, even as some claimed the head of the social media company tried to censor it from users.
It all began when activist Ashley Williams interrupted Clinton at a fundraising event in South Carolina. She asked Clinton to apologize to black people for her support of mass incarceration in the 1990s and for calling them “super predators.”
“We have to bring them to heel,” the banner Williams held at the fundraiser read.
Williams was escorted out of the event without being given the apology she sought, but the hashtag written at the bottom of her banner has made history.
#WhichHillary became the single most viral hashtag on Twitter, The Huffington Post reports. It accumulated more than 250,000 mentions by 7 p.m. on Feb. 25.
The tweets focused on Clinton’s record as it pertains to race, Wall Street, Iraq, gay marriage, health care and her former campaign tactics. Some users even included graphs and charts with their #WhichHillary tweets.
Even former Republican presidential candidate Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky took part, tweeting, “Champion of Mass Incarceration - attempts to undo the damage she caused as 1st Lady. Painfully transparent #WhichHillary.”
Supporters of her rival for the Democratic nomination, Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, joined in, too.
“Fighting either for conservatism, progressivism, or centrism, DEPENDING ON THE DAY. #WhichHillary,” Sanders for NC tweeted with the following image:
Hundreds of thousands of Tweets later and something was discovered in the Twitterverse: the #WhichHillary hashtag was not showing up.
It began when Twitter suspended the account responsible for #WhichHillary, activists @GuerillaDems, Daily Kos reports. Twitter later said this was a mistake. The hashtag also disappeared from trending status. Daily Kos notes it's not clear if the removal was deliberate or an error of some kind.
Twitter Executive Chairman Omid Kordestani held a fundraiser on Feb. 21 for Clinton’s presidential campaign, the Daily Kos points out.
The disappearance of the first hashtag bred another hashtag, #WhichHillaryCensored, and before long that disappeared from trending status, too.