Twitter launches new abuse policy to combat harassment, terrorism


Jeffrey Cirillo, Co-Online News Editor

At the start of the new year, Twitter has hit the ground running. The social media website announced on December 30 that it is implementing an updated policy aimed at cracking down on terrorist propaganda, hate speech and online harassment.

The additions to the company’s abuse policy explicitly prohibit any users that “promote violence against or directly attack or threaten other people on the basis of race, ethnicity, national origin, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, religious affiliation, age, disability, or disease.”

Twitter also said they will deactivate the accounts of any users who engage in “hateful conduct” or whose “primary purpose is inciting harm towards others.”

This shift in policy comes after years of criticism of the social media giant for failing to protect its users from abuse – and to prevent terrorist organizations like the Islamic State from using the website as a recruiting tool. The worldwide recruitment of many new members has been attributed in large part to the Islamic State’s use of social media to spread propaganda and contact sympathizers.

Critics of the new policy are concerned it could be used to silence unpopular speech. Others have suggested the opposite – that Twitter still has not gone far enough to curb terrorism and abuse.

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