Twitter announced Wednesday that it has "made a few changes to our policies around violent content and similar language," though it is basically just a rephrasing of what Twitter's longstanding police was, pre-Elon.
In a Twitter thread, the company reiterated its "zero-tolerance approach toward Violent Speech" (capitals theirs), and anyone violating the policy will face account suspension. The full new Violent Speech Policy can be found here.
Twitter has a zero-tolerance approach towards Violent Speech, and in most cases, we will suspend any account violating this policy. For less severe violations, we may require you to delete the content before you can access your account again.— Twitter Safety (@TwitterSafety) February 28, 2023
The policy includes a ban on "coded language," and "dog whistles" that may be used indirectly to incite violence. And there is a ban on "threatening to damage civilian homes and shelters, or infrastructure that is essential to daily, civic, or business activities."
The "new" policy language also includes a prohibition of any tweets that "glorify, praise, or celebrate acts of violence where harm occurred."
As the Associated Press notes, this is not materially different from Twitter's former policies, although some violations that used to be categorized under "abusive behavior," including making violent threats, now fall under this Violent Speech category.
The AP further notes that this update to Twitter's content policies comes ahead of the EU's Digital Services Act taking effect this fall, which requires social media platforms to police all content promoting child abuse, terrorism, and hate speech, among other things.
Twitter is certainly in a bind when it comes to showing its seriousness about content moderation. As SFist and virtually everyone else pointed out almost a year ago, when Elon Musk was threatening to take Twitter private, Musk wants things both ways — happy advertisers and unfettered speech — but you can't have it both ways, and social media companies figured this out over a decade ago. He's just behind.
Despite Musk's well established hostility toward talk of pronouns, etc., the company maintains a policy against "Hateful Conduct," which includes attacks based on "sexual orientation, gender, gender identity" and race, and there's ostensibly a ban on "targeted misgendering or deadnaming of transgender individuals." Such harassment, the company says, will only result in "Tweet removal," or, at worst, "limit[ing] Tweet visibility."
How will the company enforce all this with a gutted Trust & Safety team and an unknown — but likely low — number of remaining content moderators? It's anyone's guess.
As the AP points out, "The system was far from perfect to begin with, especially in countries outside the U.S. and the E.U." The AP reported last April, when Musk's takeover of Twitter was still in the works, that abuse victims on the platform widely assumed that Musk's ownership would make an already bad situation worse, and they were right.
Related: Elon Musk's Twitter Debacle Mocked on Mardi Gras Parade Float
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