New rules for fighting hate and abuse on twitter
Twitter’s executives can joke about their liberal stance on free speech. However, things are a little more complex, Now Twitter plays more as a host to bullies, harassers, propaganda-spreading bots, Nazis, ISIS recruiters, and threats of nuclear war.
The lethal content of Twitter is not only dangerous for humankind and a civilized society but it is also horrific for business, since it drives people away from the platform.
In early 2016 the company started altering its stance about liberated and free speech, shaping a Trust and Safety Council made up of protection groups, supporters, and researchers to assist and tackle the trouble. But critics are not fulfilled with the end results.
Reports have outlined many instances of the company’s failure to punish harassers; these shortcomings make Twitter’s recent missteps all the more frustrating to critics.
Last week at a critical moment the company disabled features of actor Rose McGowan’s account amid the Harvey Weinstein sexual misbehavior scandal.
Seeing that, many women groups boycotted the site for a day to protest. Twitter’s typical reply to complaints about disgust and harassment is to confirm its obligation to transparency. But even that is becoming a punch line.
On Friday CEO Jack Dorsey make an announcement about the new plan and its implementations. He said, Twitter will bring in new rules around surplus sexual advances, non consensual nudity, hate symbols, violent groups, and tweets that glorify violence, he tweeted.
According to Jack Dorsey This time the company will take actions more aggressively.
Now, Twitter’s head of safety policy emailed members of its Trust and Safety Council with comprehensive plans about its new rules and regulations, which Twitter plans to put into practice in the upcoming weeks.
In a statement, Twitter said,
“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.”
Here’s the email in full:
Dear Trust & Safety Council members,
I’d like to follow up on Jack’s Friday night Tweet storm about upcoming policy and enforcement changes. Some of these have already been discussed with you via previous conversations about the Twitter Rules update. Others are the result of internal conversations that we had throughout last week.
Here’s some more information about the policies Jack mentioned as well as a few other updates that we’ll be rolling out in the weeks ahead.
Current approach *We treat people who are the original, malicious posters of non-consensual nudity the same as we do people who may unknowingly Tweet the content. In both instances, people are required to delete the Tweet(s) in question and are temporarily locked out of their accounts. They are permanently suspended if they post non-consensual nudity again.
Updated approach *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.
*Our definition of “non-consensual nudity” is expanding to more broadly include content like up skirt imagery, “creep shots,” and hidden camera content. Given that people appearing in this content often do not know the material exists, we will not require a report from a target in order to remove it.
*While we recognize there’s 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 con sensually. We would rather error on the side of protecting victims and removing this type of content when we become aware of it.
Unwanted sexual advances
Current approach *Pornographic content is generally permitted on Twitter, and it’s challenging to know whether or not sexually charged conversations and/or the exchange of sexual media may be wanted. To help infer whether or not a conversation is consensual, we currently rely on and take enforcement action only if/when we receive a report from a participant in the conversation.
Updated approach *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.
Hate symbols and imagery (new)*We are still defining the exact scope of what will be covered by this policy. At a high level, hateful imagery, hate symbols, etc will now be considered sensitive media (similar to how we handle and enforce adult content and graphic violence). More details to come.
Violent groups (new)*We are still defining the exact scope of what will be covered by this policy. At a high level, we will take enforcement action against organizations that use/have historically used violence as a means to advance their cause. More details to come here as well (including insight into the factors we will consider to identify such groups).
Tweets that glorify violence (new)*We already take enforcement action against direct violent threats (“I’m going to kill you”), vague violent threats (“Someone should kill you”) and wishes/hopes of serious physical harm, death, or disease (“I hope someone kills you”). Moving forward, we will also take action against content that glorifies (“Praise be to for shooting up. He’s a hero!”) and/or condones (“Murdering makes sense. That way they won’t be a drain on social services”). More details to come.
We realize that a more aggressive policy and enforcement approach will result in the removal of more content from our service. We are comfortable making this decision, assuming that we will only be removing abusive content that violates our Rules. To help ensure this is the case, our product and operational teams will be investing heavily in improving our appeals process and turnaround times for their reviews.
In addition to launching new policies, updating enforcement processes and improving our appeals process, we have to do a better job explaining our policies and setting expectations for acceptable behavior on our service. In the coming weeks, we will be:
updating the Twitter Rules as we previously discussed (+ adding in these new policies)
updating the Twitter media policy to explain what we consider to be adult content, graphic violence, and hate symbols.
launching a standalone Help Center page to explain the factors we consider when making enforcement decisions and describe our range of enforcement options launching new policy-specific Help Center pages to describe each policy in greater detail, provide examples of what crosses the line, and set expectations for enforcement consequences
Updating outbound language to people who violate our policies (what we say when accounts are locked, suspended, appealed, etc).
We have a lot of work ahead of us and will definitely be turning to you all for guidance in the weeks ahead. We will do our best to keep you looped in on our progress.
All the best,
Head of Safety Policy