I am writing to you as an ally of women. Regardless of politics, I believe that Twitter needs to update its Terms of Service to suspend any account, verified or unverified and including the account’s IP address, that sexually harasses women. Whether by sending unsolicited Direct Messages or sending inappropriate pictures of private parts, these abusers need to be banned permanently.
Recently, a person in my political/activist circle did just this kind of sexual harassment. After he was caught and admitted to sending inappropriate pictures, which is precisely the behavior making this platform toxic, he was still allowed to stay on Twitter. His actions and Twitter’s actions are not only making women, in particular, very uncomfortable, but it’s dividing Americans and resistors, even after we became so close from our work during the 2020 elections.
Unfortunately, women get this kind of behavior all the time, and though they can block the predator or tell others to block, that really doesn’t stop the toxicity and the sexual harassment. The predator will move on to someone else. Meanwhile, division will grow because some people will defend the abuser, not the victim. It can even get to where physical threats are made, causing women to feel threatened just for protecting themselves.
Federal laws make sexual harassment in the workplace illegal. I strongly believe that, just like a workplace environment that has become hostile due to sexual harassment, Twitter’s platform can become a toxic environment. Twitter needs to protect its users.
I also believe that regardless of who the harasser is, whether a politician, celebrity, or any verified account, they should be held to the same standard as a non-verified account. People see that a person like ex-President Donald Trump and others get away with violating terms of service all the time and feel it’s OK for them to do the same.
Twitter accounts are routinely suspended for any threat of violence against someone, like making death threats, or hateful conduct, like posting a racial slur. I believe sexual harassment, advances, inappropriate pictures, or any unwanted sexual behavior sent in Direct Messages, by any Twitter user, should result in that account’s permanent ban, including their IP addressess. This is the best way for Twitter to create a safe environment for women.
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