Twitter desires to weed out dehumanizing language on its platform — however earlier than it rolls out a coverage change, it’s asking the general public for suggestions.
The corporate acknowledged on Tuesday that its present guidelines fall wanting addressing some abusive tweets that will not fall beneath its ban on “hateful conduct.” The “hateful conduct” coverage prohibits customers from making direct assaults or threats in opposition to folks on the premise of concerns like race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, or gender, for instance, nevertheless it would not essentially additionally embody tweets that dehumanize customers in several methods.
In a blog post, Twitter defined “dehumanizing language” by citing students like Susan Benesch who clarify that dehumanization contains referring to folks as issues akin to bugs, despised animals, micro organism, and extra. Such speech might even have offline repercussions.
“This may make violence appear acceptable: if folks appear to be cockroaches or microbes, it is okay to eliminate them,” writes Benesch, a school affiliate of the Berkman Middle for Web and Society at Harvard College, in an outline of “dehumanizing language” on the Harmful Speech Venture web site the place she is a director.
However earlier than it updates its guidelines, the corporate is first soliciting suggestions from most of the people. Within the weblog submit, Twitter included a survey, which might be reside till October 9, for people to weigh in on the proposed coverage replace.
The corporate stated its coverage crew is working carefully with native non-governmental organizations and coverage makers as properly.
The proactive outreach to customers forward of a coverage replace is a part of a current try on Twitter’s half to be extra forthcoming in regards to the concern of abuse on its platform.
The corporate has lengthy been criticized for its whack-a-mole system for eradicating content material and coping with abuse. It has struggled with tips on how to average its platform with out infringing on freedom of speech, and with doing so in a clear method.
In July, Twitter employed researchers to check the “well being” of its “discourse.”
“Well being” has been a buzz phrase on the firm recently. The corporate has cracked down on faux accounts, purged suspicious accounts from customers’ follower metrics and eliminated apps that violated its policies.
Dorsey has stated that his crew is concentrated on cracking down on harassment and hate speech. In an interview with CNN in August, Dorsey stated “we’re taking much more motion than we ever have prior to now.” However a lot of the work is invisible to customers, he stated, not less than within the quick time period.
CNNMoney (New York) First printed September 25, 2018: 1:17 PM ET