Anyone who's experienced social media knows how difficult it can be to get harmful content removed, or problematic users banned. Twitter has been expanding its policies for dealing with harmful content over the last year, and now, via a blog post, it's confirmed that hate speech based on race, ethnicity, and national origin will be banned on the platform.
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This isn't the first update Twitter has made to its platform guidelines to combat discrimination. Back in July 2019, guidelines were altered to prohibit hate speech against religious groups, and in March 2020 Twitter updated them again to ban hateful language based on age, disability or disease.
Any posts that go against these guidelines will be detected and removed by Twitter's automated systems (something that's previously been noted to be a flawed process) and any manually reported bigotry will now be swiftly removed.
Steps are also being taken to temporarily suspend the accounts of repeat offenders, although no comment has been made with regard to permanent bans for problematic accounts.
Safer, inclusive social media
Twitter also says it's working with third-party experts to properly address issues of dehumanizing speech on the platform, and to better understand more complex issues, such as conversations within protected marginalized groups, including those using reclaimed terminology that could be picked up by the automated process.
This announcement comes as a surprise to us, mainly because we would have assumed there would already be strict policies in place to prevent hate speech for large social media companies in 2020.
Regardless of how late this change has occurred, this is welcome news for those who have suffered abuse on Twitter, with requests to ban problematic users frequently flying under the radar where content apparently didn't violate existing guidelines.
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