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Twitter’s Jack Dorsey promises changes to anti-harassment policies after #WomenBoycottTwitter

Jack Dorsey got the message. Probably.

All day Friday, many women refused to tweet in protest of Twitter’s decision to suspend actress Rose McGowan’s account as she spoke out against Harvey Weinstein and sexual harassment and assault in Hollywood.

Late Friday night, Dorsey — Twitter’s co-founder and CEO — responded to the #WomenBoycottTwitter movement. Protesters compared the company’s enforcement of a 12-hour suspension after McGowan tweeted a private phone number to Twitter’s ongoing failure to police racist, anti-Semitic, and sexist harassment.

In an eight-tweet thread, Dorsey promised some “critical” changes to Twitter’s anti-harassment tools and policies, to be announced next week.

“We see voices being silenced on Twitter every day. We’ve been working to counteract this for the past 2 years,” Dorsey tweeted in a thread. “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,” he continued. “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.”

1/ We see voices being silenced on Twitter every day. We’ve been working to counteract this for the past 2 years.

— jack (@jack) October 14, 2017

3/ In 2017 we made it our top priority and made a lot of progress.

— jack (@jack) October 14, 2017

5/ We’ve been working intensely over the past few months and focused today on making some critical decisions.

— jack (@jack) October 14, 2017

7/ New rules around: unwanted sexual advances, non-consensual nudity, hate symbols, violent groups, and tweets that glorifies violence.

— jack (@jack) October 14, 2017

8/ These changes will start rolling out in the next few weeks. More to share next week.

— jack (@jack) October 14, 2017

Dorsey didn’t get into any specifics beyond the areas he promised to address — “unwanted sexual advances, non-consensual nudity, hate symbols, violent groups, and tweets that glorifies violence” —- and the promise to share more in the coming week.

Twitter has pledged to make improvements when it comes to stopping harassment on its platform before with, as Dorsey hinted, little result. As many people noted, the women and people of color protesting harassment on Twitter before now weren’t celebrities.

McGowan had a helpful suggestion for the Twitter CEO on Saturday morning.

@jack start by immediately removing RICHARD SPENCER’S VERIFICATION. I heard you have some power in these matters. #WOC#POC#NONAZIS

— rose mcgowan (@rosemcgowan) October 14, 2017

The #WomenBoycottTwitter movement received criticism from many for its tactics—is silence the best form of protest?—and its focus. McGowan, a white woman, prompted a boycott while women of color who have been subject to unfair enforcement from Twitter or harassment on the platform haven’t received similar outpourings of support.

Calling white women allies to recognize conflict of #WomenBoycottTwitter for women of color who haven’t received support on similar issues.

— Ava DuVernay (@ava) October 13, 2017

Dorsey responded to both groups in his reference to “voices silencing themselves and voices speaking out.”

As Dorsey promised, more to share next week.

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