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Twitter Would Like You To Know It Is Committed To Being More Transparent

Deja vu.

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👇🏼 thread. We need to be a lot more transparent in our actions in order to build trust. https://t.co/7T6aliOXmG

On Wednesday night Twitter briefly suspended actress Rose McGowan after a series of tweets criticizing actors – including Ben Affleck – who she suggested knew about film mogul Harvey Weinstein's alleged serial sexual assault and harassment and remained silent.

The company was quickly pilloried for suspending McGowan's account, with many suggesting the social network was silencing the voice of a victim of sexual harassment. When reached by journalists from numerous outlets, including BuzzFeed News, Twitter offered its boilerplate response: it does not comment on individual accounts for to privacy reasons.

Later on, after numerous angry tweets from celebrities and others, Twitter clarified its reasoning, explaining McGowan was briefly locked out of her account for tweeting a phone number — a violation of Twitter's rules. Twitter pledged to do better in such situations, noting "we will be clearer about these policies and decisions in the future."

The Tweet was removed and her account has been unlocked. We will be clearer about these policies and decisions in the future. 2/3

For close observers of Twitter's opaque harassment rules and its inconsistent enforcement of them this is a familiar dance. That's because Twitter wants everyone to know it is committed to transparency. It is also committed to committing to being committed to transparency.

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Twitter was committed to transparency last month when it refused to clarify its stance toward president Donald Trump's tweets about North Korea, which the country said it viewed as an "act of war."

Twitter is committed to transparency and keeping people informed about what's happening in the world 5/6

Twitter affirmed its commitment to transparency 4 times last month in a blog post summarizing its Russian election interference testimony before congress. Sen. Mark Warner described Twitter's presentation as "inadequate" in almost every way.

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In January of this year, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey pledged to be more open and transparent about addressing the company's decade long battle with systemic harassment on its platform.

@arielwaldman @JShahryar yes you did and thank you. We moved too slow. We are fixing. It will take time. And we will be more transparent

We'll consider everything we heard from you. Not going to ship all of it, but will be more transparent about why and what we learned

@daddymads we do a lot with harassment reports. Could be more transparent about what and how.

@iglvzx @cwarzel we're working to better explain and be transparent and real-time about our methods

@cwarzel yes. We definitely need to be more transparent about why and how. Big priority for this year

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We're taking a completely new approach to abuse on Twitter. Including having a more open & real-time dialogue about… https://t.co/7MI8zVOzsd

@UnseenWaif @collisindc @jack I will have the team take a look. I think we can be clearer about why someone sees what they see in trends.


This summer — despite reports that repeat harassment victims were still finding their abuse reports wrongly dismissed — Twitter affirmed its commitment to greater transparency.

What Happens Next: More improvement, transparency, and speed. https://t.co/ikHNOuhzvO

That same month, when BuzzFeed News presented the company with 27 explicit examples of harassment, Twitter replied with its boilerplate statement. And company co-founder Biz Stone promised the company would be more transparent.

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@crosspike @jack We didn't publish this Rule along with the others when we should have. Twitter must be more transp… https://t.co/zDIzJPQjcB

This is likely because Twitter has a history of committing to being more transparent.

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Transparency!

Working to increase #transparency: Our latest report https://t.co/VttMufh1ef

Continuing our fight for more #transparency https://t.co/A7gNV2qOsc

Transparency, you see, is part of Twitter's 10-year plan.

We will be more open. Thanks for all your support and patience as we plan for the next 10 years of our service. And thanks to @bchesky!

It's not always easy...

The open exchange of information has a positive impact on the world, and that's why we're here. That starts with an open dialogue with you.

But Twitter is committed to openness and clarity. Pledging a commitment to transparency is one of the things Twitter does best.

@gaidar @thecherness @man @moneyries @weeddude @name We need to make that clearer

Perhaps that's because the company has been doing it since 2008.

trying harder to be more responsive and transparent http://tinyurl.com/6athqc







Charlie Warzel is a senior writer for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York. Warzel reports on and writes about the intersection of tech and culture.

Contact Charlie Warzel at charlie.warzel@buzzfeed.com.

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