Twitter Tackles Trolls And Bots With New Rules

Twitter (NYSE:TWTR) is introducing new rules to reduce the amount of abuse proliferating on its site. Twitter increasingly plays host to toxic content, much of it from bullies, harassers, and propaganda-spreading bots. The problem is so prevalent that it has begun to drive people away from the platform.

CEO Jack Dorsey recently announced plans to act more aggressively towards toxic content on the site. The new rules are an effort to counter perceptions that the social network is not doing enough to protect those who feel harassed on the site. Dorsey said the company is holding daily meetings on the issue.

Members of the Trust and Safety Council received an email from Twitter’s head of safety policy with detailed plans on its new rules earlier this week. The Trust and Safety Council was created to help Twitter “more efficiently and quickly” get the opinion of experts on various matters. It launched in February 2016, and has a membership of more than 40 organizations, including the US Anti-Defamation League, Samaritans and the Internet Watch Foundation.

The new rules are aimed at the posting of hate symbols, sexual advances and violent groups. The rules concerning hate symbols and violent groups are completely new. Hateful imagery and hate symbols will now be treated similarly to pornography, which is already flagged and blockable.

Tweets that glorify or condones violence, as well as simple threats, will result in Twitter taking action against the account. The company says it will also “take enforcement action against organizations that use violence as a means to advance their cause.”

Twitter’s rules on unwanted sexual advances and non-consensual nudity, often referred to as “revenge porn”, have been strengthened. Before, the rules on unwanted sexual advances were only triggered if the target complained. The new rules allow bystander reports as well.

Now, the definition of non-consensual nudity has been expanded to include imagery that isn’t explicitly nude, like “upskirt” photos and hidden camera content. Users who are the original posters of non-consensual nudity, or those who share it explicitly to harass someone, will also receive an immediate permanent ban. Before, first offenders only had their account temporarily locked.

A Twitter spokesperson said, “We hope our approach and upcoming changes, as well as our collaboration with the Trust and Safety Council, show how seriously we are rethinking our rules and how quickly we’re moving to update our policies and how we enforce them.” Twitter’s email on the matter states, “We realize that a more aggressive policy and enforcement approach will result in the removal of more content from our service. We are comfortable making this decision.”

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