For years, Twitter has been criticized for failing to curb online abuse and protect its users from hate-speech, harassment, and bullying.
Users have been requesting Twitter to ban racist, reactionary, and Neo-Nazi accounts spreading hate by tweeting against Muslims, African-Americans, Jews, etc.
It looks like Twitter is finally taking "some action" by introducing new rules to "reduce" such abusive and hateful content.
Twitter introduces rules to curb abuse, ban violators
New rule around affiliation with hate groups
Twitter's new rules target abuse, hate symbols, and sexual harassment.
One clause, prohibiting users from associating with groups/organizations spreading hate, reads: "You may not make specific threats of violence or wish for the serious physical harm, death, or disease of an individual or group of people. You also may not affiliate with organizations that...use or promote violence against civilians to further their causes."
Twitter's rule about hateful imagery or display names
"You may not use hateful images or symbols in your profile image or profile header. You also may not use your username, display name, or profile bio to engage in abusive behavior...such as targeted harassment or expressing hate towards a person, group, or protected category."
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What can happen?
Accounts failing to abide by rules will be permanently suspended
Twitter is enforcing new guidelines to reduce hate-speech and violent content to "make Twitter a safer place".
The micro-blogging site, in a statement, said that it would shut down Twitter accounts that are affiliated with "non-governmental organizations" promoting violence against people; and ban usernames that threaten or abuse others.
Also, Tweets celebrating or glorifying violence or those who commit violence would be removed.
Hate imagery to come with a warning system
Twitter said it would put a warning in front of images showing Nazi swastikas and other hateful imagery.
The use of such pro-Nazi photos as profile pictures on Twitter would be banned and restricted as required by national laws, like in Germany.
Tweets can, however, still include hateful images but users will need to click on the "warning" to see them.
US Confederate flag not hateful imagery: Twitter
Though Twitter gave the specific example of the Nazi swastika for hateful imagery, it would provide warnings for all the symbols that are associated with hate groups.
However, the company has decided not to consider the "US Confederate flag" as hateful imagery. The flag is reportedly one of the most controversial symbols in the US history, representing white supremacy and oppression of African Americans.
Rise in racism, white nationalism in the US
Over the last couple of years, there has been a rise in the number of social media accounts that are racist, white nationalist, reactionary, etc. in the US.
This has led to a change in the tech-industry standards as well as social networking sites began removing such content and banning such users.
Also, Twitter earlier promised to toughen rules on sexual harassment and bullying.
Twitter is now limiting "free speech" to reduce hate speech
Twitter's latest move is part of a bigger crackdown on violent, hateful, and white nationalist groups, which are increasingly becoming "unwelcome" on the micro-blogging site that once supported free speech.
Twitter earlier called itself "the free speech wing of the free speech party" and stayed out of user battles.
But the increasing abuse and harassment on Twitter have changed the company's view.
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