Outward

Meet the Bot That Politely Corrects Twitter Users Who Misgender Caitlyn Jenner

The Twitter home page of @she_not_he

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Slate has long been an admirer of single-purpose Twitter bots. Back in 2012, John Swansburg sang a love song to @StealthMountain, a bot that alerted Twitter users who typed the words sneak peak when they meant to type sneak peek. (Sadly, @StealthMountain seems to have been retired—it hasn’t tweeted since Dec. 14, 2014, when it sent its final message—to Bill Gates of all people.) And during the 2015 NCAA men’s and women’s basketball tournaments WNYC’s @NailbiterBot sent out a tweet when games were close in the final minutes of play so that bracket watchers could turn their attention to the most exciting game among the many being played.

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Today, Outward is impressed with a brand new bot: @she_not_he, which is “politely correcting Twitter users who misgender Caitlyn Jenner in their tweets.” As of 6:15 p.m. ET, the bot has sent out 355 polite but clear reminders of Jenner’s gender: A model of brevity it used to tweet “Beep beep! It’s she, not he,” though it now seems to have switched to “Click, whirrrrrr. It’s she, not he.” Unfortunately, since @she_not_he is incapable of higher reasoning, it sometimes makes mistakes, usually when Twitter users are complaining about other people misgendering Jenner.

It isn’t yet clear who created the bot, though the bio area links to GLAAD’s response to today’s Vanity Fair cover story about Jenner’s transition. The GLAAD page contains a tip sheet intended for journalists covering Jenner and transgender issues, but the information will be useful to just about anyone writing about Jenner, whether or not their #hottake fits into a tweet.

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