Twitter’s new rules are here — and hate groups are finally getting the boot

twitters new rules are here after womenboycotttwitter
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Twitter’s new hate policies are now rolling out across the social network, everywhere from Tweets to usernames. Sparked by the #WomenBoycottTwitter campaign, the previously announced updated guidelines against hate, harassment, and violence went into effect across the platform on Monday, December 18.

Twitter outlined the upcoming changes after issuing a public promise to devote more effort toward keeping hate and harassment off the platform, and in keeping with the schedule for the rolling list of updates, those new policies went into effect on Monday. The rules apply broadly to posts, usernames, and bios, and even entire accounts.

The updated policy expands rules on violence, with new policies against threats to individuals and groups. While some violence was already prohibited in part of the network’s policies, the latest update prohibits entire accounts affiliated with organizations that promote violence, removing the account entirely. Twitter says that includes groups that engage in violence with threats online as well as groups that are violent offline. The exception? Military or government entities.

Twitter has already begun removing accounts that fall under that category — including Britain First and the accounts of two of its leaders. While the group qualifies as a British hate group, the protest against their Twitter account crossed borders after President Donald Trump reportedly retweeted an anti-Islamic video posted by one of those leaders, deputy Jayda Fransen, according to TechCrunch.

The new rules also prohibit any content that glorifies violence. For this offense, Twitter will remove the tweets in questions, while users who continue to violate the policy will be permanently suspended.

Policies designed to prevent harassment are also now expanded to include more than just Tweets but usernames, display names and profile bios that use “a violent threat or multiple slurs, epithets, racist or sexist tropes, incites fear or reduces someone to less than human.” After Twitter expanded the character limit on display names in the midst of the policy changes, some users used the extra space to call Twitter out after the platform gave a verified badge to a known white supremacist, a badge that has since been removed as Twitter re-evaluates that policy as well. The expanded policy prevents users from using that extended display name space to get around the new harassment and hate policies.

The updated policy also extends to sensitive media and like the username guidelines, if that imagery isn’t in a tweet but a profile image, the account, rather than the Tweet, will be suspended until the image is removed.

The latest round of policy updates isn’t the first time Twitter has promised changes to help curb harassment on the platform.  A boycott arose  following the suspension of Rose McGowan’s account, which occurred after she called out her harasser, and this prompted another look at the system. At the time, CEO Jack Dorsey said that while the company had been working on the issue for the preceding two years, he admitted that it wasn’t enough and that the company would be “working intensely” on changes.

Twitter isn’t quite done yet with the changes either — updated tools for reporting violations are expected in January and the platform says it will evaluate the new policies and consider additional changes. “Today, we are starting to enforce these policies across Twitter,” the company wrote in the announcement. “In our efforts to be more aggressive here, we may make some mistakes and are working on a robust appeals process. We’ll evaluate and iterate on these changes in the coming days and weeks, and will keep you posted on progress along the way.”

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