Monday, January 25, 2016

How Twitter quietly banned "hate speech" last year

Seven years ago, Twitter began its rise to prominence by billing itself as a space where people could speak freely because nobody was censored. The company's rules enshrined this ideal, promising "we do not actively monitor and will not censor user content, except in limited circumstances." But in 2015 all of that changed.

There were changes in Twitter's rules here and there before 2015, usually to make it easier for the company to ban people engaging in spam and fraud. But as more high-profile Twitter users began to experience abuse and harassment firsthand, the company began to reverse its earlier policies.

At last, in December, the company quit embroidering its rules page with links and simply re-wrote its rules from top to bottom. Now, as Jeong points out, the company no longer promises an uncensored service.

Here's how the company puts it:

    "We believe in freedom of expression and in speaking truth to power, but that means little as an underlying philosophy if voices are silenced because people are afraid to speak up. In order to ensure that people feel safe expressing diverse opinions and beliefs, we do not tolerate behavior that crosses the line into abuse, including behavior that harasses, intimidates, or uses fear to silence another user’s voice".

Call it what you want, but this is a ban on hate speech


Not a lot of logic there.  When they criticize "behavior", do they mean speech?  An important distinction seems to be lost there.  Are they just afraid to mention "speech"?

Further, they do not want voices to be silenced but they are going to silence some voices.  But banning abuse seems reasonable.  That will strike a lot of Leftists dumb if Twitter really does do that. And threats have never been protected free speech.


Anonymous said...

I have never wasted any of my time with Twitter.
I think that it is juvenile.
I do not think that people are clever because they can write something in 140 characters or less.
I have no interest in the thoughts of performers.

Bird of Paradise said...

Hate speech like what the Black Panthers and Nation of islam spout off about demanding the murder of cops and whites

Anonymous said...

Bird no that will be allowed as freedom of expression. On the other hand, if anyone criticizes the Black Panthers or Nation of Islam, then it's hate speech.