Twitter Users Log Off For #WomenBoycottTwitter

The boycott is to protest Twitter's silencing of women's voices and lack of punishment for harassment.
By Alex Firer

  • Twitter users are logging off for 24 hours to protest the social media platform’s failure to regulate harassment. After the revelations about Harvey Weinstein became public this week, actress Rose McGowan aggressively criticized many men in Hollywood who had known about Weinstein’s behavior for years.

    She had even revealed in a tweet that Weinstein had raped her.

    In a tweet to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, McGowan said, “I told the head of your studio that [Harvey Weinstein] raped me. Over & over I said it. He said it hadn’t been proven. I said I was the proof.”

    And then, suddenly, her Twitter account was suspended. 

    On October 12th, McGowan’s account was locked because, according to Twitter, she had violated the rules by sharing someone else’s private phone number in one of her tweets.

    Twitter Safety writes, “We have been in touch with Ms. McGowan’s team. We want to explain that her account was temporarily locked because one of her Tweets included a private phone number, which violates our Terms of Service.”

    However, a former Twitter Safety employee says McGowan’s suspension was completely uncalled for.

    In a piece featured on, a former Trust & Safety employee at Twitter called the decision “terrible.”

    Twitter has the power to delete a user’s tweet and then send them a message letting them know why.

    Instead, Twitter made the decision to suspend McGowan’s account!

    The former employee writes, “Even if the decision could rightfully be made to remove that single Tweet, the suspension of McGowan’s high-profile account at this moment in time continues to be an indefensible position.”

    Twitter has a poor record of handling harassing or threatening tweets.

    Many users have publicly shared harassing tweets that contain violent language or images, racial slurs, and more that Twitter has all deemed “Not a violation” of their community standards. How does Twitter decide what is appropriate for community standards? Many are left in the dark.

    Rose McGowan’s unnecessary suspension inspired women to organize a day of boycott.

    The boycott was the idea of software engineer Kelly Ellis, who tweeted yesterday, “#WomenBoycottTwitter Friday, October 13th. In solidarity w @rosemcgowan and all the victims of hate and harassment Twitter fails to support.

    Kelly herself has had experience with the unchecked sexual harassment of the tech world. In 2015, Ellis spoke out about the 4 years of harassment she endured from her superiors at Google. In a series of tweets, she described how she was made to feel scared by superiors and how Google’s own HR would side with her harassers.

    Kelly comes from the world of tech, and knows how to get a company like Twitter’s attention, by losing users.

    Women and men across the world pledged to join today’s boycott. But what is the boycott hoping to accomplish?

    Ana Valens, a writer for the Daily Dot, told Gizmodo “the sheer number of trolls and right-wing ne’er-do-wells infesting Twitter are driving women away. The boycott shows Twitter that they can’t ignore this problem any longer, and that women can (and will) choose to leave if the problem remains unresolved.”

    However, many women see Twitter as a way to amplify their voices and have decided to stay on. A tricky issue to be sure.

    Are you participating in the silent boycott or do you want to raise your voice? Let us know in the comments or on Twitter at @WhatsTrending.