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After boycott, Twitter pledges to introduce new anti-abuse rules

Yesterday, some Twitter users began a 24 hour boycott of the social media platform after the company suspended actress Rose McGowan’s account. Twitter has taken notice, and last night, CEO Jack Dorsey pledged that it will take a “more aggressive stance” in enforcing its rules, and that it will begin rolling out new rules in the coming weeks to try and curb some of the unwanted behavior that appears on the platform.

Twitter temporarily suspended McGowan’s account earlier this week after she posted a private phone number in a Tweet. McGowan has become a vocal detractor of Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein, who was the subject of a pair of reports that alleged decades of sexual abuse. While McGowan’s account was eventually restored, the incident highlights problems in how Twitter addresses abuse on its platform.

In a series of eight Tweets, Dorsey said that that the company recognizes that behavior on the site silences voices, and that the its efforts to update its policies in the last two years hasn’t been enough. “We’ve been working intensely over the past few months and focused today on making some critical decisions,” he said, going on to say that they have “decided to take a more aggressive stance in our rules and how we enforce them,” and that in the coming weeks, they will be introducing “new rules around: unwanted sexual advances, non-consensual nudity, hate symbols, violent groups, and tweets that glorifies violence.”

In the last year, Twitter has introduced some features that help filter abusive Tweets out of one’s replies, and the ability to block certain keywords. In July, the company said that its efforts have been working. Still, it doesn’t seem to go far enough, and in response to Dorsey’s Tweets, several users pointed out that Twitter has verified white supremacists such as Richard Spencer. Dorsey replied that Twitter is “reconsidering our verification policies,” but that it wasn’t as high a priority as enforcing their rules.

A spokesperson for Twitter said that they don’t have any comment beyond what Dorsey listed in his Tweets, but that more details would be forthcoming.

Update October 14th, 6:55PM: Included response from Twitter spokesperson.


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