Twitter in storm of criticism for blocking Rose McGowan’s account

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Hollywood actor Rose McGowan. Image: Denis Makarenko/Shutterstock

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Some users are threatening to boycott Twitter in wake of Rose McGowan controversy.

Twitter is being roundly criticised after actor Rose McGowan’s account was blocked while she was commenting on the allegations of sexual harassment against Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein.

The actor has since had her account restored but the situation has ignited an inferno, with some users threatening to boycott Twitter for allegedly silencing her as the scandal over Weinstein unfolds.

Allegations of sexual harassment against Weinstein have led to a catalogue of revelations emerging from some of Hollywood’s best-known actors. McGowan has been vocal in her support of women who stepped forward to reveal that the movie mogul harassed them.

Yesterday (12 October), after discovering she was blocked by Twitter, McGowan warned on her Instagram account that “powerful forces were at play”.

However, Twitter’s explanation was rather more mundane: McGowan had apparently violated its terms because a high-profile individual’s phone number was visible in a photograph she had tweeted.

Nevertheless, many users are accusing of Twitter of selectively adhering to its policies.

Despite Twitter restoring her account, McGowan compared her situation with that of US president Donald Trump who apparently can threaten the entire planet with nuclear war without being blocked.

Twitter said that key decision-makers were out of the office when the call was made to block McGowan’s account.

“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,” Twitter said. “The tweet was removed and her account has been unlocked. We will be clearer about these policies and decisions in the future.”

Twitter may argue that it had only been adhering to its policies, but its actions have led it into a hornet’s nest. McGowan, a verified Twitter user with more than 750,000 followers, has amassed a considerable amount of support from fellow actresses who are outraged at her treatment.

Twitter co-founder and CEO Jack Dorsey reiterated the company’s promise to be more transparent in the future.

Hollywood actor Rose McGowan. Image: Denis Makarenko/Shutterstock

Editor John Kennedy is an award-winning technology journalist.

editorial@siliconrepublic.com