Twitter's new rules will emphasize religion as a critical category (TWTR)

  • This is an excerpt from a story delivered exclusively to
    Business Insider Intelligence Digital Media Briefing
  • To receive the full story plus other insights each morning,

    click here.

In a company blog post,
Twitter outlined its long-awaited rules about what constitutes
hateful conduct on the platform, informed by feedback it sourced
from over 8,000 users across 30 countries. Twitter’s rules will
emphasize religion as a critical category.starting today, we will recquire Tweets like these to be removed from Twitter when they're reported to us

That’s because the platform wants to combat speech that leads to
real-world harm, and it cited research that found an increased
physical risk for groups targeted on social media because of their
religion. The platform pledged to remove violative tweets both
retroactively and going forward, and to further investigate the
responsible accounts. 

Here’s what it means: After a lot of talk,
Twitter is acting on its promise to create a healthier platform,
and it’s leaning on user opinion to do so. 

Platforms are increasingly adopting this strategy — giving
users more say around what is and isn’t allowed on platforms — as
Silicon Valley giants face increased scrutiny around content. For
example, just this week Instagram implemented two
new features meant to empower users in the fight against bullying
on the app.

Users typing out a harmful comment will now be prompted to
reconsider their choice before posting, and users will also have
the option to secretly restrict access to their profiles without
those being limited knowing. In that instance, the account owner
would have to approve a comment on a post of a certain user (who
may have written inappropriate or hurtful comments in the past)
before the post became public. In a similar way, Twitter’s effort
prioritized user opinion, albeit at a broader scale: The survey
directly informed its new policy, and was likely fielded only
because of pressure from users to clean up their platform. 

The bigger picture: While Twitter’s new rules
could ease pressure from critics who feel it’s done too little to
combat harmful speech, they might also reignite backlash from
groups that already think the platform is too censorious.

Twitter’s new rules are an important step forward, but their
enforcement will bring about its own set of challenges. Not only
is it incredibly difficult to ensure that all harmful tweets are
flagged and taken down, but it’s difficult to toe the line between
justified removal and censorship, especially on a platform where
satirical accounts are prolific.

Additionally, Twitter — like other social platforms — has
faced backlash for an alleged anti-conservative
 over the past year. Certain groups have argued that their
tweets come under heavier scrutiny and are more likely to be
removed because their opinions oppose those held by Silicon Valley

If individuals within these groups find themselves on the
receiving end of investigations enabled by these new rules, it’s
possible that they would become more vocal in their criticism of
alleged censorship. That might be especially likely right now,
given today’s “Presidential Social Media Summit,” where prominent
conservatives will meet to discuss the bias they’ve allegedly
experienced on platforms — more on that later in the

Twitter has tried to combat allegations of restrictiveness by
taking middle-of-the-road measures on other content moderation
issues, and we expect them to maintain that approach in
general. For example, Twitter recently instituted a rule that
tweets from politicians, verified users, and account holders with
more than 100,000 followers would remain on the site, even if
deemed harmful by community guidelines.

But if those tweets are marked as harmful, users will have to
verify that they want to see the tweet’s content before the text
displays. That’s because the platform believes the opinions of
prominent individuals, like President Trump, are important to
public discourse, but that Twitter still has an obligation to
protect users from their harmful speech.

As it attempts to navigate over 350 million users and 43
languages, the platform will no doubt experience additional
scandals and backlash, no matter how much it pushes to occupy the
middle ground on issues of content moderation.  

Interested in getting the full story? Here are three
ways to get access:

  1. Sign up for the Digital Media Briefing to get it delivered to
    your inbox 6x a week. >>
    Get Started
  2. Subscribe to a Premium pass to Business
    Insider Intelligence and gain immediate access to the Digital Media
    Briefing, plus more than 250 other expertly researched reports. As
    an added bonus, you’ll also gain access to all future reports and
    daily newsletters to ensure you stay ahead of the curve and benefit
    personally and professionally. >>
    Learn More Now
  3. Current subscribers can read the full briefing

Join the conversation about this story »

Source: FS – All – Entertainment – News
Twitter's new rules will emphasize religion as a critical category (TWTR)