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Twitter begins enforcing rules on 'hateful, abusive' content

19 December 2017

Users can report profiles, or users, that they consider to be in violation of Twitter policy.

Twitter said it began enforcing new rules Monday aimed at filtering out "hateful" and "abusive" content on the social network including messages which promote or glorify violence.

Twitter was also recently accused of failing to act on anti-Muslim videos retweeted by US President Donald Trump after the incident made global headlines.

"Social media companies have more to do to prevent harm on their sites", he added.

Hateful imagery, including swastikas, will be considered "sensitive media", and not immediately displayed as part of the changes to "related content". The enforcement of these rules will be a welcome step given how rampant offensive content can be on the platform, but the test will be whether or not Twitter will enforce them consistently.

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Several online civil rights groups, including the Center for Democracy and Technology and the San Francisco-based Electronic Frontier Foundation, have questioned the power of tech giants and cautioned those who cheer corporate take-downs of far-right users and Nazi websites that they could be next.

Twitter has 330 million monthly active users.

This isn't the first time Twitter has targeted white nationalists and other leaders associated with the far-right. The company went on to explain that its new policy includes any abusive language in the profile information of an account (in addition to applying to language used in tweets). "We consider hateful imagery to be logos, symbols or images whose objective is to promote hostility and malice against others based on their race, religion, disability, sexual orientation or ethnicity/national origin".

But even then it can be hard to tell whether a company is implementing its rules fairly or singling out certain people or groups that it may not like, Llansó said.

Britain First leader Paul Golding, 35, and deputy leader Jayda Fransen, 31, are both facing charges in Belfast.

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Twitter said it would not comment on individual accounts.

One rule regarding violence takes into account Twitter users' activity offline, forbidding users from affiliating with organisations that promote violence against civilians either on or off the site.

A number of prominent far-right accounts, including the white nationalist American Renaissance and its founder Jared Taylor, the neo-Nazi Traditionalist Workers Party and white nationalist group Vanguard America were suspended on Monday.

But Twitter said it would not cut off accounts for military or government entities, and would consider exceptions "for groups that are now engaging in (or have engaged in) peaceful resolution".

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Twitter begins enforcing rules on 'hateful, abusive' content