Twitter takes action towards dehumanizing speech with its new policy

first_imgYesterday, Twitter announced a new policy, which aims to address the issue of using dehumanizing speech by its users. The members of Twitter Trust and Safety Council, Vijaya Gadde and Del Harvey, stated in the announcement that this is an ongoing effort towards encouraging healthy public conversation. What is Twitter’s dehumanization policy? This new clause is an extension of their hateful conduct policy and we will see it soon added to the Twitter Rules book: “You may not dehumanize anyone based on membership in an identifiable group, as this speech can lead to offline harm.” The biggest change when the new policy is implemented will be that it will also include non-targeted content. Unlike the hateful conduct policy, which considers a violation of policy if direct attacks or threats are made against an individual, this policy will also consider targeting ‘X group’ as a violation. What exactly is dehumanizing speech? If you are wondering what ‘dehumanizing’ means, it is making someone feel less than human and hence not worthy of humane treatment. Usage of such language can lead to increased violence, human rights violations, war crimes, and genocide. The announcement also gives a good definition of dehumanizing language: “Language that treats others as less than human. Dehumanization can occur when others are denied of human qualities (animalistic dehumanization) or when others are denied of human nature (mechanistic dehumanization). Examples can include comparing groups to animals and viruses (animalistic), or reducing groups to their genitalia (mechanistic).” The classic example of dehumanizing language is using terms like “animals” and “vermin” for people. Referring to people as “illegals” is also dehumanizing. They are currently seeking feedback from users through a survey to get global perspectives and know how this policy may impact different communities and cultures. If rightly implemented, this can prove to be a good initiative towards mitigating the problem of hate and dangerous speech. Check out the official announcement by Twitter to get a better idea of the dehumanization policy. Read Next How Twitter is defending against the Silhouette attack that discovers user identity The much loved reverse chronological Twitter timeline is back as Twitter attempts to break the ‘filter bubble’ Building a Twitter news bot using Twitter API [Tutorial]last_img

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