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Twitter’s safety team seems to like punitive mansplaining

Twitter’s safety team seems to like punitive mansplaining
[Photo: Aytac Unal/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images]

With a set of updated rules and policies, Twitter Safety has been working to curb the abuse and threats bandied about its site on a daily (hourly, minutely, secondly) basis. Those rule changes aren’t supposed to go into effect until December 18, but yesterday the accounts of two women tweeters were suspended, and no one is quite sure why.

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The tweets are seemingly innocuous, particularly in light of some of the vile hate, threats, and harassment that are sadly such a common occurrence on the site. For instance, one user–identified in her profile as a social editor from Allure magazine–said she was suspended for suggesting that there be a “Hunger Games for men” where only the good survive. That frankly sounds like a great way for the Today show to pick its new host, yet somehow it triggered Twitter’s safety feature, and her account was suspended.

In a slightly more understandable suspension, national security reporter Marcy Wheeler, who tweets as @emptywheel, was put in so-called Twitter jail for hurling an expletive that you could read on any bathroom stall or subway train at some trolls. Her account was suspended until she deleted the tweet.

Were these suspensions a fluke? Or are they a hint of the kinder, gentler Twitter? As some have pointed out, the common thread of women “talking back” to men is hard to overlook.

Twitter’s rules, it’s worth noting, have faced increasing criticism since October, after Twitter temporarily blocked actress Rose McGowan, who had been calling out Hollywood insiders in the wake of the Harvey Weinstein scandal.

We have reached out to Twitter for comment and will update with its response.

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