Women are boycotting Twitter for suspending Rose McGowan

October 13, 2017, 8:39am

Thousands of women (and men supporting them) are on Twitter strike — or at least tweeting about being on a Twitter strike — in support of actor Rose McGowan. The actress was suspended from Twitter briefly on Thursday after attacking Ben Affleck for his long-standing silence about Harvey Weinstein’s alleged sexual harassment.

They’re avoiding the service today to express their solidarity with McGowan and to protest what they see as Twitter unevenly applying terms of service.

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So far 126,000 people have tweeted the hashtag WomenBoycottTwitter, according to BuzzFeed News. As of mid-morning, it was the fifth most-tweeted U.S. Twitter trend.

The idea appears to have been first suggested by Kelly Ellis, a software engineer who lives in San Francisco, according to her profile.

Her tweet was retweeted 2,600 times as of Friday morning, and celebrities started to get on board.

Some women expressed solidarity without participating themselves, trying to avoid ceding the platform to the misogynists — who were also out in full force on Friday, using the boycott’s own hashtag to troll the boycott.

Some people of color on Twitter, meanwhile, joined the boycott while noting that they don’t receive this type of support when they’re the victims of abuse on the platform.

A hashtag in response the boycott, #WOCAffirmation started trending on Friday morning, promoting the work and experiences of women of color on Twitter.

In a rare move, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey took to Twitter to explain why McGowan’s account had been suspended for 12 hours. “We need to be a lot more transparent in our actions in order to build trust,” he wrote.

According to Twitter, McGowan’s account was suspended for tweeting out someone’s personal phone number. “The Tweet was removed and her account has been unlocked. We will be clearer about these policies and decisions in the future,” Twitter’s chief spokesperson told VICE News via email.

But some Twitter users noted that trolls do this all the time. Doxxing, or publishing someone’s personal information, or, if they use Twitter anonymously, revealing their identity, with malicious intent, happens commonly enough that there’s a word for it.

Kelly Ellis, who started #WomenBoycottTwitter, responded to Dorsey’s tweet, saying that the service hadn’t done anything in response to her reports of the threats and harassment.

And McGowan herself suggested banning another high-profile tweeter.