Twitter seeks user feedback on new policy to eradicate ‘dehumanising language’

Twitter is exploring further measures to clamp down on hate speech on its platform and is seeking input from users to draw up new rules.

The social media firm said it wants to extend its existing hateful conduct policy to include the eradication of “dehumanising language”.

In a post by written by Twitter’s vice president of trust and safety Del Harvey, and legal, policy and trust and safety lead Vijaya Gadde, Twitter said it wants to shut down “content that dehumanises others based on their membership of an identifiable group even when the material  does not include a direct target”.

Addressing users, Harvey and Gadde wrote: “We want your feedback to ensure we consider global perspectives and how this policy may impact different communities and cultures.”

While Twitter’s hateful conduct policy addresses some content, the company acknowledged there are still tweets that “many people consider to be abusive, even when they do not break our rules”.

Twitter said it has been developing the new policy for three months, explaining that “language that makes someone less than human can have repercussions off the service, including normalizing serious violence.”

The proposed policy reads: “You may not dehumanize anyone based on membership in an identifiable group, as this speech can lead to offline harm.”

In a further explanation, Twitter said it will relate to “animalistic dehumansation” and “mechanistic dehumansation”.

“Examples can include comparing groups to animals and viruses (animalistic), or reducing groups to their genitalia (mechanistic),” the post read.

“Addressing this gap is part of our work to serve a healthy public conversation,” Harvey and Gadde wrote. “This is part of our singular effort to increase the health of the public conversation on our service and we hope this gives you a better understanding of how new rules are created. We want you to be part of this process, let us know what you think in the form below.”

Twitter founder Jack Dorsey later tweeted a link to the survey asking for public views on the proposed new rules.

“We’re experimenting with a new way to write and roll-out policy and rules. Let us know what you think…” Dorsey wrote.

He later tweeted it was necessary for Twitter to take responsibility for promoting open and civil conversations.





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