Women boycott Twitter in solidarity with Rose McGowan

What Twitter has wrought with its brief suspension this week of actress Rose McGowan’s account: #WomenBoycottTwitter.

The social network is being slammed for uneven enforcement of its rules — and accused of not caring about women.

McGowan was named in a recent New York Times expose as one of the women in the entertainment world who reached a settlement after accusing movie mogul Harvey Weinstein of sexual harassment. Since then, she has been campaigning to fire the board of the Weinstein Co., the movie studio he founded, and has called out famous people — such as Ben Affleck and Matt Damon — who she says knew about Weinstein’s predatory ways.

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Wednesday, she was temporarily blocked by Twitter. The company said it was because she tweeted a private phone number, violating the social network’s rules against exposing people’s private information. McGowan’s Twitter block was lifted Thursday, but the company is facing such a backlash that CEO Jack Dorsey felt the need to explain himself.

Retweeting the company’s official statement about McGowan’s suspension, Dorsey said Thursday: “We need to be a lot more transparent in our actions in order to build trust.”

But he and the company have said this before, and some people are just fed up. Before Twitter identified doxxing as the cause of McGowan’s suspension, some users pointed out that the president of the United States seems to constantly be in violation of the company’s rules. After the company cited doxxing as the reason it blocked McGowan for a while, some users pointed out that other Twitter users had also exposed private contact information but were not suspended.

The idea for a boycott may have been hatched soon after McGowan’s suspension by San Francisco-based Kelly Ellis, whose Twitter bio describes her a “feminist, nerd, software engineer.” A couple of years ago she tweeted that she had been sexually harassed by her superiors at Google, and that the company did nothing about it.

The boycott idea caught on with other women, including a couple of female celebrities, Alyssa Milano and Chrissy Teigen. Combined, the two have more than 11 million followers on the platform.

Some male celebrities, such as Mark Ruffalo and John Cusack, are boycotting, too.

A couple of outspoken female Silicon Valley engineers are also among those who are boycotting: Erica Joy, whose tweet I cited above, plus Tracy Chou.

As for McGowan, who soon after her reinstatement Thursday tweeted that she had been raped by Weinstein — and that she had told the Amazon Studios chief about it (Roy Price was suspended Thursday after being accused of unwanted sexual advances by a producer) — she is also silent on Twitter Friday.

But not before she tweeted this out Thursday night:

When reached by SiliconBeat Friday morning, a Twitter spokeswoman said the company had no comment about the boycott.


Photo: Twitter’s app on an iPhone screen. (Richard Drew/AP)


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