This article was published on October 13, 2017

Twitter boycott splits protesters over voluntary silence

Twitter boycott splits protesters over voluntary silence

Users across Twitter are absenting themselves from Twitter today following the social media site’s banning of actress/director Rose McGowan.

McGowan has been vocal on Twitter during the Harvey Weinstein rape scandal currently rocking the entertainment industry. She’s tweeted the names of several people who knew — or should have known — about Weinstein’s alleged attacks on women, as revealed by a recent New Yorker exposé.

Earlier this week, McGowan posted on Instagram a message from Twitter informing her that her account was locked and would be until she deleted certain tweets.


A post shared by Rose McGowan (@rosemcgowan) on

According to Twitter, one of McGowan’s tweets contained a private phone number, and this violates their policy against doxing.

As several people pointed out, Twitter enforces these rules very unevenly. For example, Fox anchor Lou Dobbs doxed Jessica Leeds, a woman who accused Donald Trump of groping her, by retweeting a tweet that contained her number and address. To my knowledge, Dobbs was never suspended, though the tweet was eventually deleted.

Today, women are boycotting the platform en masse in protest of McGowan’s ban. The trend appears to have began with software engineer Kelly Ellis:

And now advocates include McGowan herself and several other actors, men and women, with several Twitter users voicing their support and intent to participate.

There has also been a push to do the exact opposite, from those who don’t find this an effective form of protest.

Others protest the movement, saying Twitter users were not so quick to side with less visible figures who were also given the same treatment.

Personally, while I don’t tweet every day, I don’t know if I’d actively keep myself off the platform today. One of the ugliest details of the Weinstein case was the apparent quashing of the victims’ stories. I don’t believe me voluntarily removing myself would help the women who’ve suffered at the hands of powerful abusers.

That’s only my opinion, of course.

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