Twitter unveils new measures targeting hate and harassment

Social media firm pledges to take a "more aggressive" stance against abuse

Twitter has revealed a sweeping package of reforms designed to combat online abuse, amid long-running accusations that it hasn't done enough to curb hateful speech and harassment on its platform.

Co-founder and CEO Jack Dorsey acknowledged that the company is "still not doing enough" to address the issue in a series of tweets last Friday, addingd that the decision has been made to "take a more aggressive stance in our rules and how we enforce them".

The company's head of safety policy followed up the tweetstorm by emailing members of its Trust and Safety Council - an advisory board of independent organisations - to lay out the new rules and policies that Twitter is set to roll out, as reported by Wired.

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The new rules address five main areas: non-consensual nudity, unwanted sexual advances, hate symbols, violent groups and tweets glorifying violence. Posting non-consensual nudity will earn users an immediate and permanent suspension, and such content will not need to be proactively reported by the target.

The company will also update its documentation to make it clear that unwanted sexual advances will not be tolerated on the service. The three new rule categories around violence and hate speech are less defined, with more details to come at a later date. Broadly, Twitter is committing to take action against hate symbols and hateful imagery, groups that have a history of using violent tactics, and tweets that praise or glorify violent acts.

"We realize that a more aggressive policy and enforcement approach will result in the removal of more content from our service," the email reportedly read. "We are comfortable making this decision, assuming that we will only be removing abusive content that violates our Rules. To help ensure this is the case, our product and operational teams will be investing heavily in improving our appeals process and turnaround times for their reviews."

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The company will also be tightening up its processes for reporting and appealing against violations, and refining its help and support resources for victims.

The move comes following repeated criticisms of Twitter accusing it of allowing abuse and harassment to run rampant on its platform, thanks to inadequate moderation tools and policies. The company is also in the midst of a boycott of its service following its decision to restrict actress Rose McGowan's account during reaction to a Hollywood sex abuse scandal and the subsequent #MeToo campaign. Users have questioned Twitter's rules for banning members, after it defended its decision to leave tweets by President Donald Trump online, calling them news-worthy.

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