Building upon the updates that Twitter released last month to counter hate speech and harassment on the platform, and on Tuesday the company announced that it will now be deleting tweets that target and harass people on the basis of their religion.
Tweets that are reported by other users that contain “language that dehumanizes others on the basis of religion” will be removed. Existing tweets that fit this parameter will also be deleted but the accounts won’t be affected as these tweets were published before the new rules existed.
“Our primary focus is on addressing the risks of offline harm, and research* shows that dehumanizing language increases that risk. We’re expanding our rules against hateful conduct,” the company stated.
Based on user feedback received by the company last year from users in more than 30 countries, the company is taking steps to curb hate speech on the platform. According to the feedback, Twitter implemented a clearer language explaining what construes as a violation of its rules, narrowed down what was considered as hate speech, and established a more in-depth process of training their team for reviewing reports fairly and consistently.
The feedback and discussion with outside experts helped Twitter gain a better understanding and the basis of their rules can be derived from the following questions put up by the company to itself.
How do we protect conversations people have within marginalized groups, including those using reclaimed terminology?
How do we ensure that our range of enforcement actions take context fully into account, reflect the severity of violations, and are necessary and proportionate?
How can – or should – we factor in considerations as to whether a given protected group has been historically marginalized and/or is currently being targeted into our evaluation of severity of harm?
In the past few years, Twitter has come under heavy criticism due to its policies (or lack of them) regarding hate speech, harassment, trolling, nudity and more. The company is making efforts to improve the quality of interaction but only time will tell if they are successful in their endeavour.