Twitter is facing a crisis. Part of its core mission is about the freedom of speech, but that has been tested with a rising tide of people maliciously using the platform to promote hate, violence, and drive away others.
How Twitter has responded so far hasn’t helped. As the Harvey Weinstein sexual assault scandal unfolded the company revoked some of accuser Rose McGowan’s Twitter access, leading many women to boycott Twitter.
This week Twitter’s Trust and Safety Council, which was formed in 2016 to deal with just this issue, sent an email containing new directives to the rest of Twitter outlining how they would handle such issues as unwanted sexual advances and threats of violence. Wired first reported on the changes, and has the full text of the email here.
The big points are Twitter will widen what images are filtered as “sensitive content” to include more symbols of hate speech, crack down further on what it calls “nonconsensual nudity” and include upskirt or creep shots in that defintion, and increase the ability of users to report unwanted sexual advances or harassment. The council is also working to identify and deal with with “organizations that use/have historically used violence as a means to advance their cause,” though they did not specifically name groups such as the KKK or Nazis.
Twitter said in a statement they planned to update users about these policies later this week, which they hoped would “show how seriously we are rethinking our rules and how quickly we’re moving to update our policies and how we enforce them.”