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Wo(men) are boycotting Twitter, here’s why

Following Rose McGowan brief suspension from Twitter, many are observing a 24-hour silence on the platform.

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Women and some men around the globe are boycotting Twitter for the day, and the hashtag #WomenBoycottTwitter is now leading the trend charts. This online movement began after the suspension from the site of actress and Harvey Weinstein accuser Rose McGowan.

McGowan, a key figure in the burgeoning Harvey Weinstein sexual harassment scandal, was locked out of Twitter for about 12 hours. The actress posted on Instagram, “There are powerful forces at work,” alleging that she was being silenced for her activism. And like you can probably tell from the trend, the brief ban didn’t sit well with McGowan’s backers, who complain that many trolls are allowed to make abusive comments to women on the social media site without getting similar bans.

TWITTER HAS SUSPENDED ME. THERE ARE POWERFUL FORCES AT WORK. BE MY VOICE. #ROSEARMY #whywomendontreport

A post shared by Rose McGowan (@rosemcgowan) on

The idea for a boycott was first raised by software engineer Kelly Ellis, to show solidarity with actress Rose McGowan “and all the victims of hate and harassment Twitter fails to support”. This quickly gained momentum, especially in Hollywood. Along with showing solidarity with McGowen, this issue is also aimed at highlighting how Twitter hasn’t done enough to better its harassment policies. And people are boldly pointing that out. 

“The sheer number of trolls and right-wing ne’er-do-wells infesting Twitter are driving women away,” writer Ana Valens told Gizmodo. “The boycott shows Twitter that they can’t ignore this problem any longer.”

In response to the ban, Twitter replied in a series of tweets, saying it was the result of McGowan including a personal phone number. “We have been in touch with Ms McGowan’s team. We want to explain that her account was temporarily locked because one of her tweets included a private phone number, which violates of our Terms of Service [sic]. The tweet was removed, and her account has been unlocked. We will be clearer about these policies and decisions in the future,” the company said in the tweeted statement. ALSO READ: Las Vegas massacre: Google, Facebook, Twitter failed to curb fake news

“Twitter is proud to empower and support the voices on our platform, especially those that speak truth to power. We stand with the brave women and men who use Twitter to share their stories, and will work hard every day to improve our processes to protect those voices,” the statement said. CEO Jack Dorsey retweeted the thread and said the company needs to be “a lot more transparent”. Twitter’s policy has previously been not to comment on individual accounts. ALSO READ: Las Vegas shooting day recorded ‘saddest’ ever on Twitter

McGowan’s Twitter account has since been unlocked, but is expected to stay silent for the 24-hour protest. ALSO READ: Twitter brings ‘In-Stream Video Ads’ to marketers in India