TWIT­TER COPS SI­LENCE ROSE

Ac­tress’ so­cial me­dia ac­count blocked af­ter tweets about We­in­stein, Af­fleck

Edmonton Sun - - SHOWBIZ - ABBY OHLHEISER

As a grow­ing num­ber of women ac­cuse Har­vey We­in­stein of preda­tory be­hav­iour, ac­tress Rose Mc­Gowan has used Twit­ter ac­count to rally sup­port for the women like her who are now nam­ing them­selves as his vic­tims.

On the flip side of that sup­port was her Twit­ter wrath to­ward Ben Af­fleck, who re­leased a state­ment de­nounc­ing We­in­stein this week. “You lie,” she said in one tweet, tag­ging the ac­tor’s Twit­ter han­dle. Mc­Gowan has ac­cused Af­fleck of know­ing about We­in­stein’s be­hav­iour for years.

Overnight on Thurs­day, it ap­pears that some of those tweets might have got­ten Mc­Gowan tem­po­rar­ily sus­pended from the plat­form. The ac­tress posted an im­age of a mes­sage she re­ceived from Twit­ter to her In­sta­gram ac­count.

Twit­ter, which has a his­tory of de­clin­ing to com­ment on spe­cific sus­pen­sions, de­clined to com­ment in this case for “pri­vacy and se­cu­rity rea­sons.” Mc­Gowan’s In­sta­gram post also does not in­clude the spe­cific tweet that Twit­ter de­ter­mined was in vi­o­la­tion of the rules, but the of­fend­ing tweet has been deleted.

The Wash­ing­ton Post found one re­cent, deleted tweet from Mc­Gowan’s time­line from Oct. 11. “Anony­mously sent to me. They all knew. It starts here,” the tweet read. At­tached was an im­age of a por­tion of an email that of­fered to set up a meet­ing with Bob, pre­sum­ably Bob We­in­stein from con­text, at a ho­tel in the early evening. The now-deleted im­age con­tained the full email sig­na­ture of the per­son send­ing it, in­clud­ing their phone num­ber, which was a vi­o­la­tion of Twit­ter’s rule against re­leas­ing “pri­vate in­for­ma­tion” with­out per­mis­sion.

“We have been in touch with Ms. Mc­Gowan’s team,” @Twit­terSafety said in a state­ment Thurs­day morn­ing. “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.”

Some of Mc­Gowan’s more con­fronta­tional tweets were about Af­fleck. There’s one tweet that sim­ply reads “Ben Af­fleck f--- off,” and an­other, tag­ging Af­fleck’s Twit­ter han­dle, that di­rectly ac­cuses him of ly­ing. “‘GODDAMNIT! I TOLD HIM TO STOP DO­ING THAT’ you said that to my face. The press conf I was made to go to af­ter as­sault,” she wrote.

Other tweets, some us­ing the hash­tag #RoseArmy, have ac­cused other as­so­ci­ates and back­ers of We­in­stein’s projects over the years of be­ing “guilty” as well.

All of those tweets are still live, how­ever, mean­ing they aren’t the spe­cific tweets that trig­gered the sus­pen­sion.

The spe­cific type of lim­i­ta­tion on Mc­Gowan’s ac­count in­di­cates that it might have been au­to­mat­i­cally trig­gered by the plat­form’s al­go­rithms — although it could also be the re­sult of a user re­port.

As we re­ported in Fe­bru­ary, Twit­ter in­tro­duced the 12-hour ac­count lim­i­ta­tion ear­lier this year. This par­tic­u­lar pun­ish­ment does not rely en­tirely on user re­ports of pos­si­ble rule-break­ing, but in­stead can also be trig­gered au­to­mat­i­cally. If an ac­count is tag­ging oth­ers in po­ten­tially abu­sive tweets or fir­ing off a great deal of sim­i­lar tweets flagged by the sys­tem as po­ten­tially abu­sive, those can be fac­tors that prompt a sus­pen­sion, the com­pany said at the time.

But like many of Twit­ter’s anti-abuse prac­tices, there’s a lot of murk­i­ness here. Even as the plat­form takes more ag­gres­sive steps to fight ha­rass­ment and abuse, the ac­tual en­force­ment of the rules de­signed to pro­tect its users re­mains in­con­sis­tent.

Twit­ter has pre­vi­ously said that it takes the “news­wor­thi­ness” and “pub­lic in­ter­est” of a tweet into ac­count when de­cid­ing whether to take ac­tion against it or not. For in­stance, Twit­ter’s rules ban tweets that con­tain “threats of vi­o­lence” or those that “pro­mote vi­o­lence,” but the plat­form has al­lowed this tweet from Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump to re­main on the plat­form:

“Just heard For­eign Min­is­ter of North Korea speak at U.N. If he echoes thoughts of Lit­tle Rocket Man, they won’t be around much longer!”

The po­ten­tial anti-vi­o­lence rule vi­o­la­tion — as well as the news­wor­thi­ness — of this tweet are both clear. And there is an ex­tremely strong case to be made for the news­wor­thi­ness of Mc­Gowan and her tweets in the We­in­stein story, a story in which she is di­rectly in­volved as a vic­tim. But Twit­ter seems to have come to a dif­fer­ent con­clu­sion about Mc­Gowan’s tweet, with­out re­leas­ing a pub­lic ex­pla­na­tion for its rea­son­ing.

Der­rIck SAl­terS/WENN.com

Rose Mc­Gowan’s Twit­ter ac­count was sus­pended, tem­po­rar­ily mut­ing a cen­tral fig­ure in the al­le­ga­tions against Har­vey We­in­stein (in­set). Mc­Gowan has also ac­cused Ben Af­fleck (top right) on Twit­ter of know­ing about We­in­stein’s be­hav­iour for years.

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