back to article Twitter: Why we silenced Rose McGowan after she slammed alleged sex pest Harvey Weinstein

Twitter was today accused of censorship after it froze the account of actress Rose McGowan – who had just publicly slammed alleged sex fiend Harvey Weinstein. McGowan was surprised to find herself locked out of her @rosemcgowan profile on Wednesday night, and posted on Instagram a screengrab of a telling-off she received from …

Facepalm

Twitter IS a toilet

I see Twitter as a private company billboard, if they think you smell, have a wonky eye then they can ban you they like.

I think Linehan almost had it right, but Twitter isn't a toilet, it's a cesspit.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: I think Linehan has it right

As Scott Adams often says, two movies, one screen. Linehans twitter is a such a doozy of insane vitriol at times it beggars belief.

No doubt he doesn't consider himself part of the Toiletarti :-/

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Anonymous Coward

Re: I think Linehan has it right

People take advice from Scott Adams?

Wow.

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Re: I think Linehan has it right

Scott Adams is pretty smart. Also, writes a lot more than just Dilbert. He wrote a piece on why Trump would win fairly early on and proved spot on with his analysis in hindsight. Is there any particular reason for your incredulity?

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Re: I think Linehan has it right

Scott Adams frequently has to post disclaimers that you shouldn't take moral or professional advice from cartoonists.

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Re: Twitter IS a toilet

I see Twitter as a private company billboard, if they think you smell, have a wonky eye then they can ban you they like.

Says so in their TnCs, too. I don't know by what miracle some people have come to view twitter as a public service dedicated to information. That's a company dedicated to extract as much cash as possible from exhibitionism and narcissic instincts, and as such they always made the decisions which got them the most cash. No surprise there.

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Re: I think Linehan has it right

I'm not the previous poster, but Scott Adams is a bit of a dick. He admires Trump and uses similar methods, including lying a lot. Much of his "persuasion" amounts to saying whatever is needed to get the other fellow to do what he wants, whether or not it is true. A few days before the election, he made a post about how to discourage Clinton supporters from voting. He's a climate change denier. Most of what he writes distorts the truth.

I still read him. One of the sad things is that there used to be meaningful criticism in the comments to his blog, but nowadays it's become a pro-Trump echo-chamber.

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Re: Twitter IS a toilet

Twitter views itself as middleware that can impose a value-subtracted tax at various parts of the message queue.

That said it's not very good middleware. Think of it as BizTalk with fewer morals and even less obvious real-world application.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: I think Linehan has it right

"Scott Adams is pretty smart."

Scott Adams not only predicted Trump's win, which was smart, but publicly backed Trump. I wouldn't call the latter a smart move, because of the number of readers of his website (in the US and internationally) he has potentially alienated.

Maybe, one day, I will start reading Dilbert again, but it won't be during *this* presidency...

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Paris Hilton

Re: I think Linehan has it right

"you shouldn't take moral ... advice from cartoonists."

Or comedy writers, or movie stars, or Eric Bristow.

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Re: I think Linehan has it right

wow; I did not know this. Just deleted the dilbert feed from my RSS reader. I absolutely love Dilbert but not at this price -- supporting someone (however indirectly and ineffectually) who supports the "racist toddler".

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Alert

Re: I think Linehan has it right

@Sitaram. No more Wagner for you I'm afraid.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_Wagner#Racism_and_antisemitism

Or anything with transistors in it.

http://articles.latimes.com/1989-08-14/news/mn-369_1_nobel-laureate-shockley

etc. etc.

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Re: I think Linehan has it right

@ Sitaram Chamarty

"Just deleted the dilbert feed from my RSS reader. I absolutely love Dilbert but not at this price"

So you will stop enjoying something you enjoy because the creator has a personal opinion you dont like? You might want to stop using almost everything as finding 2 people who agree on everything is not an easy task at all.

I dont understand the growing intolerance nor the excessive overreaction and tantrum approach to life. Do you ask the political beliefs of the servers at a restaurant before you eat there? Or coffee shop? Who the hell cares? I am sure you hold beliefs that others would disagree with, and if they said to you 'well I aint gonna invite you for dinner any more' are you really gonna give a hoot at all? No.

I dont care if you do or dont delete dilbert from your RSS feed (first world problems eh) but I seriously hope you are not representative of the majority of people in this country. And I severely hope you are still in school/college to think self harm for someone elses personal thoughts/beliefs is clever (at least enough to announce publicly).

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Re: I think Linehan has it right

A guy in his 60's who feels the need to post selfies of his 6 pack is not smart

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Meh

Re: I dont care if you do or dont delete dilbert from your RSS feed

In fact I so don't care I'm going to write a little essay explaining how stupid you are...

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Re: I dont care if you do or dont delete dilbert from your RSS feed

@ sabroni

"In fact I so don't care I'm going to write a little essay explaining how stupid you are..."

You may want to look up. Higher. Higher. You see that thing up there, thats the point you seem to have missed.

I dont care if he does or not decide to remove the RSS feed for dilbert. What does bother me is that he publicly announces he is going to cut off his nose to spite his face and seems to think it is something to be proud of. And if I am honest he is the straw that broke the camels back because I see this kind of reasoning becoming more and more mainstream.

The virtue signalling that the provider of content that they actually want (that is the logic here) has an opinion they dont agree with and so they are boycotting it is similar to an idiot doing it in a room saying 'I am walking out, who is with me'. The demand for attention and support at doing something stupid.

That isnt a million miles from those idiots who campaign to no-platform people. Because freedom of thought and differing perspectives are so dangerous to a closed mind. I have no problem with anyone with a closed mind but it isnt something I would brag about. Especially in such a trivial situation as political opinion.

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Re: I think Linehan has it right

@Anonymous Coward and Others

Scott Adams is quite smart. Just not the cartoonist Scott Adams who is not only a dick, but a dick who can’t draw very well - which is something of a handicap in a cartoonist.

The real Scott Adams, the guy who wrote adventure games in the late 1970s and 1980s, is quite smart though - although if he comes out in support of Trump I’ll revise my opinion pretty damn quickly (and call into question the intelligence of anyone named Scott Adams, regardless of the facts).

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Re: I think Linehan has it right

@Brangdon

"Scott Adams is a bit of a dick. He admires Trump ... He's a climate change denier."

a HUGE DOWNVOTE from me, for being so transparently PEJORATIVE, as well as ignorant about REAL science. And steering the topic to Trump and man-made climate change.

NICE. JOB. *NOT*

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Re: I dont care if you do or dont delete dilbert from your RSS feed

"You may want to look up. Higher. Higher. You see that thing up there..."

...is it your horse?

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Re: I think Linehan has it right

>>Scott Adams frequently has to post disclaimers that you shouldn't take moral or professional advice from cartoonists.

No, he frequently chooses to. And in my experience, the people who are most hesitant to give advice are usually a lot more qualified to do so than those who love giving it out.

(And hopefully that's it for the homily channel, tonight!)

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Re: I think Linehan has it right

>>A few days before the election, he made a post about how to discourage Clinton supporters from voting.

That would be this Clinton? The one who received $250,000 from long-term Democrat supporter and Whitehouse visitor Harvey Weinsten? Who has spent the last week trying to avoid denouncing her friend just in case he pulls through this somehow and retains his influence? Just checking.

And if the post you're referring to is the one I think it is, the one about how to un-hypnotise a rabid anti-Trump supporter, then I don't see what's wrong with providing a list of supported facts that many were glossing over. HIllary has been for every war America has engaged in in the last couple of decades. Trump came out as against the Iraq War when Hillary was championing it. And things of that nature. People attacking Scott for a blog post like that... are frankly the people the blog post was talking about.

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aqk
Paris Hilton

Is there any particular reason for your incredulity?

yes.

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aqk
Headmaster

Re: I dont care if you do or ...is it your horse?

Why yes. It is! But who is on it? I cannot quite see...

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Anonymous Coward

Re: I think Linehan has it right

"People take advice from Scott Adams?", the one about mud being good for chigger bites was useful

as in Scott Adams of Adventure International for those who are too young to remember the '80s

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adventureland_(computer_game)

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Anonymous Coward

Re: I think Linehan has it right

And of course no one ever tried to discourage people from voting for Trump.

And the Climate Change deniers are the apocalyptic ones, the screamers warning about impending doom. They deny that climate changes unless it's humans doing the changing. Anti-scientific frauds.

But you have to give Adams credit. It may be a one-off but he did indeed identify what made Trump far more formidable an opponent than most gave him credit for (it was going to be a landslide for Clinton, everybody said so - remember ?). He's not, to my mind, slavishly pro-Trump but does recognize the actual PR skills that Trump has. And those skills worked.

You do need to get over Clinton's defeat and onto the healing side of the stages of grief.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: I think Linehan has it right

Trump isn't half as racist as Obama was. And not as stupid either, though that would be hard.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: I think Linehan has it right

Just to throw another spanner in the works, Scott Adams also predicted Corbyn would do better than expected. Lost a lot of readers when he did that, then jump forward to June this year...

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Re: h4rm0ny

I'm not referring to the blog post about how to un-hypnotise a rabid anti-Trump supporter. I'm referring to this one: http://blog.dilbert.com/post/152226715516/how-to-legally-vote-more-than-once. It starts, "If you find it annoying that you only have one legal vote, here’s how you can get a few more." Here's step 1:

1. Set the stage by cleverly hiding the fact that you are a Trump supporter. Say some good things to your intended targets about Clinton’s plucky attitude, her place in history, and the breadth of her experience. Once people believe you are on the “right” side, they will find you more persuasive later.

That is, use deception and lies. Make people believe something that isn't true (namely, that you are a Clinton supporter). That's how he works.

(Sorry I don't know how to do formatting on this site.)

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Re: h4rm0ny

What a bastard, encouraging people to talk to people with opposing political views. Doesn't he know the only ethical solution to political differences is to #PunchANazi ?

And yes, as a remainer living in Brexit central I can confirm that sometimes to start a conversation you need to pretend to agree with someone.

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Re: h4rm0ny

@ Mycho

"And yes, as a remainer living in Brexit central I can confirm that sometimes to start a conversation you need to pretend to agree with someone."

As a leaver living in remainer central I can sympathise. I can only assume by your willingness to talk to others holding differing views also puts you toward the moderate end of the debate. You have to walk carefully being in the middle of 2 warring tribes.

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We have contacted the actress

Thank-you for not reaching out!

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Anonymous Coward

Re: We have contacted the actress

...but some minus points for jumping on the "trial by Twitter" band wagon.

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Sense of proportion

Point of order. She wasn’t blocked from tweeting because of her slamming of W, but (according to your article) because of the actual content of her tweet(s). While Twitter’s info to her initially was less than useful in identifying the problem (other articles thought that it was a separate tweet of hers which told someone to F off in a more complete form of that profanity) it’s difficult to see that she was being silenced in order to somehow protect W which is the implication here.

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WTF?

Re: Sense of proportion

Not having tweetered myself I don't understand the logistics. Should Twitter have declared to the world there was illicit doxing going on and pointed to the offending tweet, in order to justify the semi-lock out? Should they have blanked out the tweet and said "user knows what user did wrong" and let everyone wonder what the hell was going on?

Truly I wonder, what could they have done about the doxing without, um, doxing?

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WTF?

Re Notas Badoff: Sense of proportion

Easy - they could have deleted the tweet that violated their TOS. But then they'd be responsible for the diarrhea in their toilet content of their site.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Sense of proportion

Sorry but I hate to break it to you but twitter has no profanity filter or otherwise, there are no real time monitors and verses number of users there are very few moderators.

To get your account blocked you have to come up on the moderators radar, this is probably achieved by number of people marking your post offensive or spam being say greater than 1000, so ask yourself do we think her tweet about "W" got lots of complaints? No.

Therefore twatter had someone working on the "W" case to try and limit bad tweets however it has back fired so now they have a nice excuse of a phone number. Use your head, do you really think a Hollywood actress is stupid enough to post someones phone number and even if she did who is going to notice in twatters moderation team?

If you look a little closer at society things like this point to an elite where money, power and influence does a lot of talking on social media.

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Re: Sense of proportion

If Twitter is half the company they are supposed to be then they will have tweet analysis keyed to the T&C's, as well as lots of other stuff presumably. A phone no filter is not a hard regular expression, and they will get flagged.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Sense of proportion

You are indeed correct however the message (as per the link in the article) doesn't tell her which tweet she needs to delete or why and it happens immediately after she slags off Weinstein.

It doesn't take a genius to work this one out.

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Re: Sense of proportion

" it happens immediately after she slags off Weinstein."

Yes but it also happens after a presumably significant uptick in the readership of her tweets as a result of slagging off w.

If I were writing moderation software is certain ally have it pay attention to accounts with sudden high volumes of activity..

Realistically given everyone that is posting about him would banning this one user really make a difference? What would Twitter gain from

Doing so?

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Re: Sense of proportion

No wonder you posted anonymously. Twitter may be a toilet but this sort of comment is no better.

As the article points out, and you acknowledge, the offence was including a telephone number in a post (presumably not her own). It's not difficult to imagine who's telephone number she included. It's also not difficult for software to workout if a post contains a telephone number. No human moderators are required to identify a telephone number and send a note of it to a human to check.

How about a little less of the mindless conspiracy theory stuff.

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Re: Sense of proportion

"A phone no filter is not a hard regular expression, and they will get flagged."

Indeed, most modern applications detect when you enter a number which is formatted like a phone number and make it a hotlink, so Twitter could easily do the same, removing potential phone numbers, before allowing the post. Even Win10 Sticky Notes detect phone numbers and pass it through to Skype for Business.

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Re: Sense of proportion

It was supposedly a picture containing a phone number. Not trivial to regex that.

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Trollface

Re: Sense of proportion

"do you really think a Hollywood actress is stupid enough to post someones phone number "

This is a trick question isn't it?

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Re: Sense of proportion

"It was supposedly a picture containing a phone number. Not trivial to regex that."

OCR is something that exists... The problem being that it would take quite a bit of processing to OCR every picture uploaded... (But then FB and YT manage a significant amount of pre publish checking on video for copywritten content in videos so Im sure twitter could figure something out..

I suspect as I mentioned in another comment that the sudden surge in activity on her account because of her recent post regarding W simply flagged her account for further review meaning that her images were subject to additional checks (Either automated or manual)

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Re: Re Notas Badoff: Sense of proportion

Easy - they could have deleted the tweet that violated their TOS. But then they'd be responsible for the diarrhea in their toilet content of their site.

As has been demonstrated many times in court, policing content does not make the site responsible for the content they let through.

There have been many lawsuits filed against platforms that use logic along the lines of "you moderate content, therefore you are responsible for that content" that has been routinely rejected by the courts.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Sense of proportion

@Sirius Lee

I like my conspiracy theories.

Now what are the odds that she accuses him of rape and her account gets blocked straight away?

I also await a screenshot or confirmation of said telephone number, once that appears I'll eat my hat.

I also note that her accusation is "big" news now, front page of the BBC no less so if someone at twitter blocked her account because they knew it would be big news then it proves my theory correct.

Weinstein already paid her off to the tune of $100k so it is not unrealistic to think he may have had a word with twitter in case McGowan decided to go public.

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Re: Sense of proportion

You are indeed correct however the message (as per the link in the article) doesn't tell her which tweet she needs to delete or why and it happens immediately after she slags off Weinstein.

It doesn't take a genius to work this one out.

It happens after she posts a number of very shouty tweets variously telling people to f-off, apparently one containing a private phone number, and yes, righteous abuse directed at Weinstein.

Trying to claim the block was due to one specific tweet when she had posted a large number of tweets in a short space of time is - frankly - political point scoring unless you happen to work for Twitter and have access to the relevant logs (and I'm taking a wild guess that you don't).

None of us have the relevant information to know for sure one way or another. Anyone claiming absolutes is a liar, fraud, or a Twitter employee in disguise.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Sense of proportion

"Weinstein already paid her off to the tune of $100k so it is not unrealistic to think he may have had a word with twitter in case McGowan decided to go public."

What? How would that conversation go? "Hi Twitter, here is a list of women I raped and paid off a long time before you even existed, if there comes a time at any point in the future when one of them decides to mention it on your platform, please delete that tweet and block them immediately. Oh, and don't tell anyone about the whole me-raping-them-and-paying-them-off-thing, k? I'll keep you updated as and when I decide to rape more women and pay them off in the future too."

Yes, that sounds entirely plausible.

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Re: Sense of proportion

what are the odds that she accuses him of rape and her account gets blocked straight away?

Quite high I would have thought if Weinstein, his staff, or legal team are keeping an eye on Twitter and other social media, poised to get accusations quickly removed with legal threats if they aren't.

Those will probably quickly pass through the moderation system and, if posts do breach T&Cs, they will get taken down and the de facto punishment will get applied.

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Re: Sense of proportion

I have used Twitter, and I don't understand how the quoted warning could lead to the offending tweet being deleted. I can see why Twitter doesn't want to make a public reference to that tweet. What seems to be missing is something like "We have sent you a DM with full details".

They are beta-testing long tweets, and I suppose there might be a length problem in this, but Twitter is getting a reputation for inept handling of offensive material.

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