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.
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.
— Kelly Ellis (@justkelly_ok) October 12, 2017
— Jessica Chastain (@jes_chastain) October 12, 2017
Ladies. Let's do this. #WomenBoycottTwitter. Not because of hate but because I love this platform and know it can be better.
— christine teigen (@chrissyteigen) October 13, 2017
At midnight we RISE https://t.co/ihKLLczUww
— rose mcgowan (@rosemcgowan) October 13, 2017
I will be boycotting Twitter tomorrow for all the rape threats, doxxing, and abuse that has been ignored. #WomenBoycottTwitter
— Mary Laury, MD (@marylaurymd) October 13, 2017
Doing the #WomenBoycottTwitter tomorrow because I've been told to go kill myself on twitter, and others I care about have dealt with far worse
— ricky (@houglande) October 13, 2017
— Amy Shepherd (@amylasenz) October 13, 2017
— 👼HITCHKI💞💥 (@thesulkysultan) October 13, 2017
It's time we change the conversation around all of this. Maybe we can start by not saying anything at all. #WomenBoycottTwitter
— Kate Johnson (@SportsGirlKate) October 13, 2017
Tomorrow I follow the Women. #WomenBoycottTwitter
— Mark Ruffalo (@MarkRuffalo) October 13, 2017
— Rega Jha (@RegaJha) October 13, 2017
“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
👇🏼 thread. We need to be a lot more transparent in our actions in order to build trust. https://t.co/7T6aliOXmG
— jack (@jack) October 12, 2017
“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