Twitter breaks its silence on McGowan suspension

Twitter breaks its silence on McGowan suspension
From TechCrunch - October 12, 2017

Twitter has abruptly broken its own policy of not commenting on individual accounts to explain why it temporarily suspended the account of actress RoseMcGowan late yesterday, after she had been tweeting about allegations of sexual abuse and harassment which have been surfacing against Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein.

Earlier today we asked Twitter why it had suspended McGowans account and it declined to provide an explanation, saying it does not comment on individual accounts for privacy and security reasons.

Yet now the Twitter Safety account has publiclytweetedto say McGowans account was temporarily locked because one of her Tweets included a private phone number, which violates our Terms of Serviceapparently selectively breaking its own rule about not commenting on individual accounts. (Weve asked McGowan for comment and will update this post with any response.)

At this point it would appear that Twitters sense of irony runs very deep indeed. And/or its store of hypocrisy. Because, as others have previously pointed out, the company has long used a policy of not commenting on individual accounts to shield itself from accountabilitye.g. from criticism that its providing a platform to nazis and white supremacists.

Yet now, in this instance when its facing a high profile storm of criticism for selectively silencing McGowan (a verified Twitter user with more than 750k followers) and for simultaneously failing to silence the abuse flowing over its own platform, its suddenly okay breaking its own rule as it tries to extricate itself from blame and criticism that its also complicit in enabling the abuse of women.

Safe to say, this really is what leading from behind looks like.

But lets not forget weve already seen Twitterban one particular notorious troll yetdefend the right of another to make violent threats, even as armies of misogynistic and racist trolls continue to roam its platform with near impunity exactly because Twitter has handed the burden ofresponsibility for blocking and reporting racism, hate speech, misogyny and so on off to individual Twitter users.

Heres another little irony youll find retweeted into the Twitter Safety feed right now:

In its series of three longer-than-140char tweets regarding McGowans suspension, Twitter does say it will be clearer about these policies and decisions in the future.

But it also goes on to claim to be proud to empower and support the voices on our platform, especially those that speak truth to power.


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