It’s been a rough few days for Twitter (among others): Wednesday night, the service caught serious flack for suspending actress Rose McGowan’s account right in the middle of a wider conversation—spawned by McGowan and other women’s allegations of sexual assault and harassment against Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein—about the ways women trying to speak out about these issues have been consistently silenced by people in power. When the company told protesters that McGowan had been suspended because she violated a site rule by tweeting a private phone number, it was met with numerous angry responses from people claiming similar reported abuses had gone ignored.
The subsequent protests and boycotts only exacerbated growing complaints the company has faced in recent months, centered on the way it handles its harassment policies and rules violations. (It doesn’t help that the platform has become synonymous over the last few years with Donald Trump, a man who frequently revels in the way Twitter allows him to lash out at and bully political opponents, the media, and even nuclear-armed foreign leaders, basically with impunity.)
The company’s CEO, Jack Dorsey, responded to many of those complaints tonight, dropping a series of tweets in which he promised that the company was aware of the criticisms, and that it intended “to take a more aggressive stance in our rules and how we enforce them.” He also promised a series of new rules, rolling out in the coming weeks, focused on “unwanted sexual advances, non-consensual nudity, hate symbols, violent groups, and tweets that glorifies violence.”
Of course, Twitter has made promises like this in the past, with little actually changing beyond the appearance of 280-character tweets. But if the point (among others) of campaigns like #WomenBoycottTwitter and #WOCAffirmation was to build awareness and forcibly grab the company’s attention, they do seem to have pulled it off.