Twitter Inc. has decided to expand its hateful conduct policy to include race, ethnicity, and national origin as a part of its protected categories. As per the current rules, the social media platform has decided to get rid of hateful posts from the platform when they are reported. It has also mentioned that in case a Twitter account repeatedly breaks the rule, the company has the full authority to temporarily lock or suspend the account.
Civil rights group Colour of Change, part of a coalition of advocacy organizations that have been pushing tech companies to reduce hate speech online, called the changes “essential concessions” following years of outside pressure. Under the hateful conduct policy, Twitter account holders are barred from promoting violence based on race, national origin, ethnicity, caste, sexual orientation, gender, religious affiliation, age, disability, or serious disease.
Twitter in its official blog post said, “We create our rules to keep people safe on Twitter, and they continuously evolve to reflect the realities of the world we operate within. Our primary focus is on addressing the risks of offline harm, and research* shows that dehumanizing language increases that risk.” It further said, “While we encourage people to express themselves freely on Twitter, abuse, harassment and hateful conduct continue to have no place on our service. In July 2019, we expanded our rules against hateful conduct to include language that dehumanizes others based on religion or caste. In March 2020, we expanded the rule to include language that dehumanizes on the basis of age, disability, or disease. Today, we are further expanding our hateful conduct policy to prohibit language that dehumanizes people based on race, ethnicity, or national origin.
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According to Twitter, media is manipulated when the content is revised extensively in a manner that essentially changes its composition, sequence, timing, or framing, any visual or auditory information. These include new video frames, overdubbed audio, or modified subtitles that have been added or removed and whether media depicting a real person has been fabricated or simulated.
Twitter, with the new changes, aims to target the manipulative media by reducing its visibility, adding labels to the tweets by showing a warning before people liked or share it. A Twitter spokeswoman said the company had planned from the start to add new categories to the policy over time after testing to ensure it can consistently enforce updated rules.