Why Twitter's Latest Fumble Led to #WomenBoycottTwitter
If your customers tell you something is important to them, you would do well to take it to heart and address the issues they bring up. Your financial future could be on the line if you don’t act quickly and clearly. But what happens if your response is not up to the task? This is the point at which Twitter finds itself yet again this week.
The social media platform’s handling of abuse and concerns about the safety of its users has been an ongoing point of contention, with the latest outcry following the suspension of actress and advocate Rose McGowan’s account on Wednesday.
This week, as years of sexual harassment and assault allegations against Weinstein Company co-founder Harvey Weinstein came to light, McGowan became one of the central voices calling out Weinstein’s behavior and the industry that made it possible for him to thrive. But then, she announced that her Twitter account was suspended because one of her tweets violated Twitter's policies.
A post shared by Rose McGowan (@rosemcgowan) on
McGowan deleted the tweet in question -- it apparently included a personal phone number -- and was reinstated, but many big names on the platform spoke out about whether Twitter’s decision to suspend McGowan was at a minimum tone deaf given the current climate -- especially when there are accounts that remain active that are dedicated to promoting hate, harassment and violence. Even those accounts that appeared to break the same rules as McGowan.
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. 1/3— Twitter Safety (@TwitterSafety) October 12, 2017
Twitter is proud to empower and support the voices on our platform, especially those that speak truth to power. We stand with the brave women and men who use Twitter to share their stories, and will work hard every day to improve our processes to protect those voices. 3/3— Twitter Safety (@TwitterSafety) October 12, 2017
With that in mind, today in solidarity with McGowan and others who have been harassed on the platform, a #WomenBoycottTwitter campaign was launched.
Some have questioned the efficacy of the boycott, given that in part, this situation stemmed from women speaking out about harassment and not being silent. But what it also illustrates is Twitter’s larger issue in how it communicates the rules of the platform -- and its values system as a whole.
As a business owner, it’s your responsibility to make sure that you earn and don’t squander the trust that your customers have in you. Be clear about why you are making decisions and be consistent once you make a choice. Otherwise, your reputation will take a hit from which it might not recover.