Twitter has explained why it banned Rose McGowan as she was speaking out about Hollywood abuse.
The actress’s account was taken down in the middle of a flurry of tweets about various people involved in the scandal now engulfing Harvey Weinstein, as well as Hollywood more generally. In one post just before her account was taken down, she had told Ben Affleck to “f*** off”.
A number of people suggested the account had been taken down because the tweets were inconvenient for powerful people. Ms McGowan appeared to agree with that interpretation, writing on her Instagram that there are “powerful forces at work” and instructing her followers to “be my voice”.
But Twitter has instead said that it was just one of the posts, which included a phone number and so violated Twitter’s terms of service.
“We have been in touch with Ms. McGowan’s team,” the company posted on the account it uses for safety announcements. “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.
“The Tweet was removed and her account has been unlocked. We will be clearer about these policies and decisions in the future.
“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.”
Under that tweet was a run of messages from users who complained that the site doesn’t appear to be as quick to ban other users, even if they are engaged in abuse. One user, Diane Elyssa, posted a run of tweets referencing the abuse people receive on the platform, each of which was retweeted thousands of times.
Ms McGowan responded to Twitter’s message with a reference to Donald Trump’s continuing place on the site.
Twitter has made clear that it doesn’t intend to ban the president, despite claims he has broken its terms of service. In particular, it was forced to defend one tweet that North Korea claimed was a “declaration of war” – and which remains on the site.