It took them long enough.
Twitter recently announced it’s officially “over” allowing users — ahem, trolls — to post hate, hate symbols and violent tweets.
The announcement came a few weeks ago from Jack Dorsey, Twitter’s CEO, via a strongly worded tweet. Dorsey promised to “crack down on the hate and abuse” that’s rampant on the site by “implementing more aggressive rules,” TechCrunch reported.
Users can expect to see the new rules in the coming weeks.
“Although we planned on sharing these updates later this week, we hope our approach and upcoming changes, as well as our collaboration with the Trust and Safety Council, show how seriously we are rethinking our rules and how quickly we’re moving to update our policies and how we enforce them,” Twitter said in a statement to TechCrunch.
The biggest change that will come from this overhaul is Twitter now will address and handle user tweet that include hate symbols, hate imagery or something that glorifies violence.
TechCrunch added that, although the company has yet to specifically announce what it will do, it’s alluded it will handle violent, hated-filled tweets in the way it handles adult content and graphic violence.
First, the social media site will take aim at users that historically have posted violent, hate-filled tweets. Twitter also will begin policing “creep shots” (non-consensual nudity) and tweets that condone unwanted sexual advances.
Twitter on non-consensual nudity, via YNOT.com:
We 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. We will do a full account review whenever we receive a Tweet-level report about non-consensual nudity. If the account appears to be dedicated to posting non-consensual nudity then we will suspend the entire account immediately.
Twitter on unwanted sexual advances, via YNOT.com:
“We are going to update the Twitter Rules to make it clear that this type of behavior is unacceptable. We will continue taking enforcement action when we receive a report from someone directly involved in the conversation. Once our improvements to bystander reporting go live, we will also leverage past interaction signals (eg things like block, mute, etc) to help determine whether something may be unwanted and action the content accordingly.
Read the entire statement from Twitter here.
What this means for you
At the very least, it is refreshing that Twitter is cracking down on content that could harm other users. However, we wonder how well the company actually will regulate hate speech when it’s so prevalent in modern culture.
May women on Twitter have been called a slut, whore, something degrading about her ethnicity or worse. And the fact that it took this long for the social media site to call out this type of hateful rhetoric is, frankly, a bummer.
But, hey: We are hopeful. Maybe Twitter is taking hate seriously for a change.
Since its inception, Twitter has been called upon to navigate the very thin line between curbing abuse and abridging free speech. So while these current moves toward curbing actual hate speech and actual non-consent are hugely important, taking steps to protect users from these behaviors also puts Twitter, once again, in the position of navigating that same very thin line.
In the past, Twitter has relied heavily on user-opted censoring functions –- things like “block” and “mute” settings, as well as self-labeling one’s own content as “sensitive.” Currently, however, more and more users within the adult industry community are reporting “shadow banning:” the act of blocking a user from an online community in a way the user does not realize they have been banned. By making an alleged problematic user’s contributions invisible or less prominent than others, Twitter apparently hopes the shadow-banned user will become bored or frustrated in the absence of engagement and leave the site.
So, this account has apparently been shadowbanned. 5 years spent trying to help people and I’m now on par with nazis and spam bots.
— JoEllen Notte (@JoEllenNotte) October 28, 2017
Further, between when our coverage here was originally submitted by the author and the time lapse for editorial/publication, BuzzFeed reported that Twitter is “updating its rules and clarifying policies on abusive behavior, self-harm, spam, graphic violence, and adult content.”
Accordingly, “Twitter now provides more detail around what it considers ‘graphic violence’ (gruesome death, crime and accident scenes, bodily harm, dismemberment, and torture, among other things) and ‘adult content’ (full or partial nudity, and simulations of sexual acts, among other things) but notes that some of this content might be permitted if marked as ‘sensitive media.'”
Per Buzzfeed, Twitter also said that it will share more details about how it will review and enforce new policies in separate updates on November 14 and on November 22.
We will continue to report about Twitter policy changes as they develop.