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In Wake of The Harvey Weinstein Scandal, Twitter Intensifies Its Fight Against Sexual Assault

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Following the Harvey Weinstein abuse scandal where over 80 women have accused the Nollywood Director of sexual misconduct, Twitter has recently announced stringent rules on tweets containing ‘non-consensual nudity’ and sexual harassment.

The ugly revelations of the women interviewed on CNN led to an uproar, as many took to social media to render their solidarity and join the fight against such a crime. Many condemned the actions of Weinstein on social media, using the hash tag MeToo.  However, Twitter recently suspended the account of Rose McGowan, an actress, who claimed to have been raped by the Nollywood director. McGowan’s post on obscenity was directed at Ben Affleck, a Hollywood actor whom she said denied his knowledge of Weinstein’s actions with women. While the Hollywood actress accused Twitter of shutting her voice, twitter defended its actions and said she broke one of the rules in the terms and conditions because it included a phone number.

Jack Dorsey, company co-founder, posted a series of tweets to inform the public and users on the stance regarding posts that bother of sexual misconduct. In as much as the social giant is in support of the fight against the obnoxious act, it has taken into consideration that some individuals may go overboard about this whole thing by posting obscenities to harass specific targets. To maintain the sanity of the site, Twitter will henceforth, suspend permanently, any account identified as an original source of ‘non-consensual nudity or if a user makes it clear they are intentionally posting said content to harass their target’.

The report said further, ‘We would rather err on the side of protecting victims and removing this type of content when we become aware of it’.

Non-consensual nudity’ includes ‘contents like upskirt imagery, creepshots, and hidden camera content’. Undoubtedly, some mischievous individuals who may be desperate for fame may use this saga as the best opportunity to hit the limelight. It’s not surprising to see that the Weinstein case only came to limelight many years after. While, I may not delve into the matter deeply like I’d have loved to, in such a case, how can you possibly tell that a post isn’t trying to harass the victim and not the target? There are lots of videos on YouTube that could be lifted in a bid to cause an uproar.  In many cases, the faces featured in the video may not be aware that such materials exist and this will likely cause a very uncomfortable situation for the individuals.

With respect to this, Twitter has said in the report that ‘it’s nearly impossible for us to distinguish when this content may/may not have been produced and distributed consensually’. To play safe, ‘we would rather err on the side of protecting victims and removing this type of content when we become aware of it’. Sexually charged conversations, as well as sexual media, have been prohibited from the site and culprits will be permanently banned if reported by other users.

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