The online sphere has exploded with controversy after the alleged sexual harassment incidents of Hollywood director Harvey Weinstein came to light earlier this month. Since then, the story has developed continuously, with a large number of women coming forward to claim they were sexually harassed or assaulted by Weinstein - allegations he has denied. 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.
Following this scandal, Twitter has spoken out and has promised numerous policy changes in order to protect and prevent users against sexual harassment. Twitter has said they will immediately and permanently suspend any account identified 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. Twitter defines "non-consensual nudity" as including content like up-skirt imagery, 'creep shots,' and hidden camera content.
Twitter states that while it recognizes there is an entire genre of pornography dedicated to this type of content, it's nearly impossible for them 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. They have gone further to say that sexually charged conversations and the exchange of sexual media will now be unacceptable, with the promise to take action when any exchanges of this nature are reported.
Whether or not these changes will have any type of impact on the growing sexual harassment incidents or the pornographic sphere only time will tell. It is however encouraging to see a company like Twitter that has such a global influence, recognizing these incidents and taking a stand. With more companies of this nature hopefully following suit in the future, we can be optimistic for real change to take place.