Twitter users who use the social media platform for violent threats and abusive behavior be warned. The company has revised its rules to clarify what it considers to be abusive behavior and hateful conduct. Under these new rules Twitter will suspend or shutter any user account that engages in “hateful conduct” or whose “primary purpose is inciting harm towards others.”
The update comes at a time when critics are calling for the online service to adopt harder lines against extremists, promising tough stance.
‘’The updated language emphasizes that Twitter will not tolerate behavior intended to harass, intimidate, or use fear to silence another user’s voice’’ Twitter said in a blog post. ‘’As always, we embrace and encourage diverse opinions and beliefs –but we will continue to take action on accounts that cross the line into abuse’’
The update does now however change what people are allowed to post on the platform but it could be an answer to the ongoing debate from different quarters that terror groups and even some leaders are using it to recruit members and incite people against each other.
Twitter has over the past year tried taking several steps to fight abuse in order to protect freedom of expression. It introduced tools for blocking, muting, and reporting abusive behaviors on the platform and also evolved its policy to capture more types of abusive behavior. Twitter has also increased its investment in policy enforcement to help handle more reports with greater efficiency, and bolstered educational resources through its new Twitter Safety Centre.
On Hateful conduct Twitter says you may not promote violence against or directly attack or threaten other people on the basis of race, ethnicity, national origin, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, religious affiliation, age, disability, or disease. The company will also not allow accounts whose primary purpose is inciting harm towards others on the basis of these categories. On violent threats whether direct or indirect Twitter will not allow users to make threats of violence or promote violence, including threatening or promoting terrorism.
The new policy also bans the creating of creating multiple accounts with overlapping uses or in order to evade the temporary or permanent suspension of a separate account is not allowed. This comes at a time when the company has always been criticized for allowing users to create new accounts as soon as the old ones had been suspended.
‘’We believe in freedom of expression and in speaking truth to power, but that means little as an underlying philosophy if voices are silenced because people are afraid to speak up. In order to ensure that people feel safe expressing diverse opinions and beliefs, we do not tolerate behavior that crosses the line into abuse, including behavior that harasses, intimidates, or uses fear to silence another user’s voice’’ Twitter said