So, as mentioned in the Weinstein thread
, Twitter opened a can of worms when it suspended the account of actress Rose McGowan over tweets directed at Ben Affleck. Twitter tried to defuse this by claiming they had done so because she had violated their policy by posting a personal telephone numbers.
This wound up being the wrong move.
Immediately, women, minorities, and members of other marginalized groups began recounting how Twitter, when informed of their personal information being posted on Twitter as part of an attack on them, had responded that the tweets did not violate the terms of service. (Most notably, the St. Louis Police Department, during the recent protests over a cop being allowed to literally get away with murder, tweeted the contact information of protesters
. Twitter has not sanctioned the SLPD, and the tweet is still up.) This has lead to a group of women to declare a day long boycott of Twitter for today
Which leaves one to wonder - how did we end up here?
And for me, the answer comes back to this:
Twitter has a Twitter problem.
This comment that was made elsewhere was illuminating for me:
Just so everyone's clear on where Twitter's priorities are: they already know who the Nazis on their platform are. They're required to flag Nazi accounts so that they do not appear when you use Twitter from a German or French IP address. That means that there's already an existing flag that they could use to trivially ban a huge portion of the fascist recruiting and propaganda effort from their service at any moment. Guess why they haven't.
The fastest way to get infracted on Twitter is still to yell at fascists or white supremacists. You can say back to them the same things that they're saying to you and you will get suspended while they will not. On the other hand, people do not get infracted for talking about how they wish they could enslave black people or shovel Jewish people into ovens, and of course basically any kind of harassment is okay as long as the target is a woman. The company is too cowardly to make their positions clear, but if you just follow the pattern of their behavior it becomes pretty obvious.
She puts someone's private number in a tweet which is one of the few cardinal sins on Twitter.
That's not true. People do this all the time. Tons of protesters have been doxxed very thoroughly (and often incorrectly!) on right-wing Twitter, and if you report those posts you'll be told that they don't violate the ToS. This is a bald-faced lie from the Twitter support team that is meant to sound reasonable to people who aren't very involved with Twitter. Please don't fall for it.
What amazes me is that they do, in fact, track these abusive accounts in order to comply with French and German law, but do nothing more than just block them from appearing in those countries. And this is the heart of Twitter's Twitter problem - they find it more important to give a platform to abusers than to prevent abuse.