Twitter on Tuesday announced a new policy addressing “dehumanizing speech,” which will take effect later this year, and for the first time the public will be able to formally provide the company with feedback on the proposed rule. The policy will prohibit “content that dehumanizes others based on their membership in an identifiable group, even when the material does not include a direct target.”
It expands upon Twitter’s existing hateful conduct policy prohibiting users from threatening violence or directly attacking a specific individual on the basis of characteristics such as race, sexual orientation, or gender. Twitter’s users, especially women and minority groups, long have complained that the company’s rules have been ineffective and inconsistent in addressing harassment and abuse.
From the new section in Twitter Rules:
Dehumanization: Language that treats others as less than human. Dehumanization can occur when others are denied of human qualities (animalistic dehumanization) or when others are denied of human nature (mechanistic dehumanization).
Examples can include comparing groups to animals and viruses (animalistic), or reducing groups to their genitalia (mechanistic).
Identifiable group: Any group of people that can be distinguished by their shared characteristics such as their race, ethnicity, national origin, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, religious affiliation, age, disability, serious disease, occupation, political beliefs, location, or social practices.
Our hateful conduct policy is expanding to address dehumanizing language and how it can lead to real-world harm. The Twitter Rules should be easier to understand so we’re trying something new and asking you to be part of the development process. Read more and submit feedback.
— Twitter Safety (@TwitterSafety) September 25, 2018
— Gizmodo (@Gizmodo) September 25, 2018