Twitter Seeks Broad Input On New Policy To Regulate Hateful Conduct

Going forward, Twitter wants the fashioning of platform rules and policies to be a more democratic process.

Making the announcement on Tuesday, Vijaya Gadde and Del Harvey, members of Twitter’s Trust and Safety team, said the process typically consists of in-depth research and partnership with members of their Trust and Safety Council, and other experts.

“Now, we’re trying something new by asking everyone for feedback on a policy before it’s part of the Twitter Rules,” Gadde and Harvey said in a blog post.

Specifically, Twitter is seeking broad input regarding the development of a new policy addressing dehumanizing language on its platform.

The new policy will represent an expansion of Twitter’s hateful conduct policy, which prohibits the promotion of violence against or direct attacks or threats against other people on the basis of race, ethnicity, national origin, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, religious affiliation, age, disability, or serious disease.

Under the expanded definition of “hateful content,” Twitter now plans to include content that dehumanizes others based on their membership in an identifiable group -- even when the material does not include a direct target.

“We want your feedback to ensure we consider global perspectives on how this policy may impact different communities and cultures,” according to Gadde and Harvey. “For languages not represented here, our policy team is working closely with local non-governmental organizations and policy makers to ensure their perspectives are captured.”

To gather feedback, Twitter is circulating a short survey through October 9, which includes such questions as: “How can the dehumanization policy be improved, if at all?

After processing the additional feedback, Twitter plans to follow it regular process, which passes through a cross-functional working group, including members of its policy development, user research, engineering, and enforcement teams.

The company then plans to share some of what it learned after updating its rules, later this year.

Twitter has recently come under intense scrutiny for its content policing policies. It drew widespread critical for vowing to support Alex Jones as other top social platforms were cutting ties with the conspiracy theorist.

Earlier this month, Twitter reversed its position and shut down Jones’ accounts. The company said it did so based on new reports of tweets and videos that it believed violated its abusive behavior policy.
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