Twitter steps up fight against sexual harassment

A portrait of the Twitter logo in Ventura, California on December 21, 2013. (File photo by Reuters)
Updated 18 October 2017
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Twitter steps up fight against sexual harassment

SAN FRANCISCO: Twitter has announced tough new rules on tweets containing “non-consensual nudity” and sexual harassment, which could be seen as fallout from the Harvey Weinstein abuse scandal.
The rules will come into force in the coming weeks, Twitter said in a statement late Tuesday, after company co-founder Jack Dorsey on Friday posted a series of tweets promising policy changes.
The San Francisco-based social media giant will “immediately and permanently suspend any account we identify as the original poster/source of non-consensual nudity and/or if a user makes it clear they are intentionally posting said content to harass their target,” the statement read.
Twitter defines “non-consensual nudity” as including “content like upskirt imagery, ‘creep shots,’ and hidden camera content.”
Since people appearing in these pictures “often do not know the material exists, we will not require a report from a target in order to remove it,” the statement said.
Twitter said that while it recognizes that there is “an entire genre of pornography dedicated to this type of content, it’s nearly impossible for us to distinguish when this content may/may not have been produced and distributed consensually.
“We would rather error on the side of protecting victims and removing this type of content when we become aware of it,” the statement read.
Twitter also said that sexually charged conversations and the exchange of sexual media will now be “unacceptable,” and promised to take action when such exchanges are reported by participants or by observers.
Twitter’s statement follows an uproar caused by the temporary suspension of the account of Rose McGowan, an actress who says that Weinstein raped her.
The account was suspended after McGowan posted an obscenity directed at actor Ben Affleck, whom she said lied about his ignorance of Weinstein’s history of sexual abuse.
Twitter however said her account was suspended because McGowan broke usage rules by including a personal phone number in a tweet.
Weinstein was fired from his job as co-chairman of The Weinstein Company on October 8, and resigned from the company board of directors on Tuesday.
Some 40 actresses, including stars Gwyneth Paltrow, Angelina Jolie and Mira Sorvino, have come forward saying they were sexually harassed by the Hollywood film producer.
The revelations sparked an avalanche of messages on platforms like Twitter and Facebook from women all over the world, using the hashtag #MeToo to speak out on and condemn experiences of sexual harassment.


UN fears Myanmar human rights abuses in Internet shutdown

Updated 25 June 2019
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UN fears Myanmar human rights abuses in Internet shutdown

  • Mobile phone operators ordered to shut down all internet data across at least eight townships in Rakhine and one in neighboring Chin states
  • The decree was made under Myanmar’s Telecommunications Law

YANGON: An Internet blackout in parts of Myanmar could be cover for “gross human rights violations” in an area where a brutal army crackdown has already forced hundreds of thousands of Rohingya to flee, a UN rights investigator said.
The military is locked in battle with the Arakan Army (AA), insurgents fighting for more autonomy for the region’s ethnic Rakhine Buddhists.
On Friday the government took the unprecedented step of ordering mobile phone operators to shut down all Internet data across at least eight townships in Rakhine and one in neighboring Chin states.
“I fear for all civilians there,” said UN Special Rapporteur to Myanmar Yanghee Lee, calling for the immediate lifting of restrictions.
The military’s “clearance operations” can be a “cover for committing gross human rights violations against the civilian population,” she said, referencing alleged mass atrocities committed against Rohingya Muslims in 2017.
The decree was made under the Telecommunications Law, hitting all mobile operators for an unspecified period.
Telenor Group said the Ministry of Transport and Communications justified the measure, saying the Internet was being used to “coordinate illegal activities.”
Thousands of troops have been deployed to the western region, which has seen more than 35,000 people fleeing their homes to escape heavy artillery fire in the violence that has spilled over into Chin state.
Both sides stand accused of committing abuses and dozens of civilians have been killed in crossfire and shellings, even while taking refuge in monasteries.
The military confirmed it shot dead six Rakhine detainees in late April.
The violence has even spread to near the Rakhine state capital Sittwe with insurgents attacking a naval vessel during the weekend, killing two.
Few people own personal computers so the mobile Internet blackout has effectively shut most people off from the outside world.
AFP spoke by phone Tuesday to local residents in three of the affected townships, all angry and afraid.
“We can’t share information which is really dangerous and frightening when you’re living in a conflict area,” said Myo Kyaw Aung, Sapa Htar village administrator in Minbya township, by phone.
Rakhine is also home to several hundred thousand remaining Rohingya, many confined to squalid camps.
Around 740,000 of the stateless group were driven into Bangladesh in a 2017 army crackdown.