Monday 20 August 2018

What women boycotting Twitter want to see when they get back on the platform

Journalist Heidi Moore led the boycott after Rose McGowan was temporarily blocked by the site.

Twitter stock
Twitter stock

By Nicola Irwin

A business editor who helped to launch #WomenBoycottTwitter into a worldwide trend will return to the social platform at the weekend after a 24-hour absence.

Heidi Moore sparked the idea for a boycott of the platform after actress Rose McGowan was temporarily blocked from using the site.

Moore wants Twitter to become a more respectful place – free from the abuse which is so often directed at women, with easier ways to quash abuse and report infringements.

“I started the hashtag,” she said. “I was tweeting about Rose McGowan and how she was being treated by the platform.

“I threw it out there, it was an idle tweet about a boycott. I thought maybe 10 or 20, maybe 100, people would get involved but it grew as people related to me.

“I got into choosing a date and the hashtag. It’s amazing to see how far it has gone with women, men, LGBTQ, people of colour. We all want to see a more respectful platform.”

To follow her own boycott, Moore logged out of the desktop site and deleted Twitter from her mobile.

Moore, who previously wrote for the Wall Street Journal and Guardian US, hopes people at Twitter will start to take notice.

“Twitter is a wonderful platform. I have used it non-stop for nine years. I love it. I write about finance and the economy. Twitter has been a central part of that, it has helped me. I want it to improve.

“On Saturday, I’ll likely be tweeting as normal. I will be trying to amplify women’s voices, protecting respectful discourse.”

According to Twitter, McGowan was blocked after tweeting a private phone number, which the site says is in violation of its rules.

For Moore, increased clarity on those rules is essential. There also needs to be consistency in how those rules are applied, she argues.

For all the speed in which McGowan’s account was suspended, the network has been previously criticised for being slow to act.

Moore said: “I would like to see clarity about the rules: you don’t want to get a situation where she (Rose McGowan) is in the middle of something really important – like she is making a speech only to be hustled off the stage.”

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