Philadelphia, PA — October 13, 2017, many female tweeters refused to tweet in protest and those who did tweet, used the hashtag #WomenBoycottTwitter. These women actively and silently protesting were showing their support for the actress Rose McGowan.
This was because of Twitter’s decision to suspend McGowan’s twitter account as she spoke out against Harvey Weinstein and sexual harassment and assault in Hollywood and tweeted a private phone number. Twitter suspended the actress’s account due to their policy of enforcing a 12-hour suspension for any user who tweets a private phone number.
Many protesters compared the company’s enforcement of their policy against posting private phone numbers to Twitter’s ongoing failure to police racists, anti-Semitics, and sexist harassments.
Why create and enforce one policy but not have an equally important policy for those who perpetrate hate and discrimination?
The protest seemingly worked as within hours, that same day, Twitter’s co-founder and CEO Jack Dorsey responded to the #WomenBoycottTwitter movement. In several tweets, Dorsey promised that Twitter would be implementing “critical” changes to Twitter’s anti-harassment tools and policies and that such changes would be announced in the coming week.
Dorsey’s Twitter feed explained: “We see voices being silenced on Twitter every day. We’ve been working to counteract this for the past 2 years. We prioritized this in 2016. We updated our policies and increased the size of our teams. It wasn’t enough. In 2017 we made it our top priority and made a lot of progress. Today we saw voices silencing themselves and voices speaking out because we’re *still* not doing enough. We’ve been working intensely over the past few months and focused today on making some critical decisions. We decided to take a more aggressive stance in our rules and how we enforce them. New rules around: unwanted sexual advances, non-consensual nudity, hate symbols, violent groups, and tweets that glorifies violence. These changes will start rolling out in the next few weeks. More to share next week.”
For over fifty years, sexual harassment has been a prevalent issue in our society and in the legal system. While the growing use of the Internet has helped serve as a medium for sexual harassment, it is only in the past decade this problem has gained attention. The darker side of the Internet and social media—like Twitter—has exploded in recent years as more and more users are being subjected not only to identity theft and cyberstalking, but also to online discrimination, sexual harassment, and cyberbullying. Our society and social media providers are lightyears behind and clearly more has to be done.
It is important to note that such online discrimination and sexual harassment may invoke employment discrimination laws, like when the unlawful conduct is from a co-worker or supervisor.
If you feel like you have experienced sexual harassment in the workplace, or you need legal help contact the experienced New York City discrimination and sexual harassment attorneys at the Derek Smith Law Group, PLLC. Our attorneys have years of experience litigating claims of gender discrimination and sexual harassment. If you feel you have been discriminated against because of your gender, please give our attorneys a call at (800) 807-2209 for your free consultation.