Twitter announced Monday that it is getting even more serious with “hateful conduct and abusive behavior” on the platform, an initiative that already seems to be affecting certain accounts.
The social media company’s rules against such kinds of content have already been in place for awhile, but Twitter says it is now vamping up its enforcement efforts by adding a slate of “new policies.”
“Specific threats of violence or wishing for serious physical harm, death, or disease to an individual or group of people,” for example, is and has been a violation of Twitter policies, but “new changes include more types of related content,” like “content that glorifies violence or the perpetrators of a violent act.” Additionally, accounts that are in some way affiliated with organizations that use or promote violence are included in the crackdown.
Twitter was sure to add that such a rule does not apply to military or government entities, and that it will consider other exceptions when appropriate.
But, perhaps most importantly, Twitter is “expanding” its rule to include “related content.”
“Our hateful conduct policy and rules against abusive behavior prohibit promoting violence against or directly attacking or threatening other people on the basis of their group characteristics, as well as engaging in abusive behavior that harasses, intimidates, or uses fear to silence another person’s voice,” Twitter’s announcement reads. Now such a category will be broadened to include other types of apparent threats.
“Any account that abuses or threatens others through their profile information, including their username, display name, or profile bio,” is also against the rules now, according to Twitter. “If an account’s profile information includes a violent threat or multiple slurs, epithets, racist or sexist tropes, incites fear, or reduces someone to less than human, it will be permanently suspended. We plan to develop internal tools to help us identify violating accounts to supplement user reports.”
Also, hateful imagery, like ones associated with particular logos or symbols, can also be deemed “sensitive media,” meaning the account or distributor of such content may be reported and required to remove it. (RELATED: Leaked Twitter Emails Show An Imminent Crackdown On ‘Hate Symbols’)
Gab, a social networking alternative to Twitter, is already trying to capitalize on what it most likely considers acts of censorship by highlighting a number of accounts — including “blue checkmark” verified ones — that appear to have been taken down.
Press F pic.twitter.com/WjvizzGO69
— Gab: Free Speech Social Network (@getongab) December 18, 2017
Some consider Gab a virtual refuge for members of the larger conservative movement, but more particularly for the far-right (or alt-right). Twitter has censored and purged certain unofficial associates of the alt-right camp before. (RELATED: Trump Will Likely Never Get Banned From Twitter. Here’s Why)
“I think Twitter provides a platform for dialogues and disagreements, but its unwillingness to tolerate hate speech isn’t a violation of anyone’s rights — especially when its platform is provided free of charge to consumers,” Ryan Hagemann, director of technology policy at the think tank the Niskanen Center, told The Daily Caller News Foundation. “Whether it’s a good business model, I couldn’t say for sure.”
A Twitter spokeswoman declined to provide TheDCNF with further details, and just pointed the publication to the most recent blog post.
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