Last Friday, many women refused to tweet or even open the Twitter app in response to the social networking service's decision to suspend actress Rose McGowan's account. McGowan's account was locked after a series of posts about Harvey Weinstein's alleged sexual harassment and sexual assault on countless women over the past 20 plus years.
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Twitter explained that McGowan's account was temporarily locked because she listed someone's phone number, but the incident opened the door for a conversation that needed to be had. Twitter has failed to protect its users, women and people of color in particular, against sexual harassment and racist and anti-Semitic tweets.
Jack Dorsey, Twitter's co-founder and CEO, responded to the #WomenBoycottTwitter movement that took place on Friday. In a thread of eight tweets, he promised "critical" changes to Twitter's anti-harassment tools and policies, which will be announced in full next week.
"We see voices being silenced on Twitter every day," Dorsey wrote. "We've been working to counteract this for the past 2 years. We prioritized this in 2016. We updated our policies and increased the size of our teams. It wasn't enough. In 2017 we made it our top priority and made a lot of progress."
Dorsey went on to say that the boycott worked—women were heard.
"Today we saw voices silencing themselves and voices speaking out because we're still not doing enough," Dorsey added. "We've been working intensely over the past few months and focused today on making some critical decisions. We decided to take a more aggressive stance in our rules and how we enforce them. New rules around: unwanted sexual advances, non-consensual nudity, hate symbols, violent groups, and tweets that glorifies violence. These changes will start rolling out in the next few weeks. More to share next week."
Many have criticized the #WomenBoycottTwitter movement, saying that silence isn't the answer, while others are in full support. Either way, it sounds like positive changes are coming soon.