Twitter Launches ‘Zero Tolerance’ Policy on Threats of Violence With Exceptions for ‘Outrage’ and Satire

Twitter has rolled out a new policy aimed at tackling threats of violence on the platform, banning the incitement and glorification of violence or harm.

The social media platform, headed by Elon Musk, announced the official launch of its “zero tolerance policy towards violent speech” on Feb. 28.

“Twitter is a place where people can express themselves, learn about what’s happening, and debate global issues,” the company’s safety and cybercrime team wrote in the update.

“However, healthy conversations can’t thrive when violent speech is used to deliver a message. As a result, we have a zero-tolerance policy towards violent speech in order to ensure the safety of our users and prevent the normalization of violent actions.”

Under the new policy, Twitter users may not threaten, incite, glorify, or express a desire for violence or harm.

Violent threats are described by Twitter as threatening to inflict physical harm on others, such as threats to kill, torture, sexually assault, or otherwise hurt someone. The updated policy notes that this includes threats to damage civilian homes and shelters or infrastructure that are “essential to daily, civic, or business activities.”

Users may also not “wish, hope, or express desire for harm” including that others “die, suffer illnesses, tragic incidents, or experience other physically harmful consequences.”

Bans for Policy Violators

It marks a reversal from Twitter’s previous policy that said “statements that express a wish or hope that someone experiences physical harm” or makes vague or indirect threats, or threatening actions that were “unlikely” to cause serious or lasting injury were not against the company’s rules.

Elsewhere, the incitement or encouragement of violence is described by Twitter as encouraging others to hurt themselves or commit “atrocity crimes including crimes against humanity, war crimes or genocide.”

“This also includes using coded language (often referred to as ‘dog whistles’) to indirectly incite violence,” according to the platform.

Twitter users may also not glorify, praise, or celebrate acts of violence that result in harm, including animal abuse or cruelty, the company’s safety and cybercrime team said.

Users who violate the new policy, which is similar to Twitter’s previous violent threats policy but with some further expansions on some definitions, risk having their Twitter accounts immediately and permanently suspended.

In the case of “less severe” violations, users may be temporarily locked out of their accounts, although they too risk a permanent suspension if they continue to violate the policy after regaining access to their account.

It is not clear exactly what constitutes as severe and less severe “violent speech.”

Twitter noted some exceptions to the policy, including in cases where “conversations regarding certain individuals credibly accused of severe violence may prompt outrage and associated violent speech.”

In those “limited cases,” the platform may take “less punitive measures”, it said, without providing examples of what those exceptions may look like.

Exceptions to Policy

Additionally, Twitter noted expressions of violence are allowed when there is “no clear abusive or violent context,” such as in the case of “hyperbolic and consensual speech between friends,” satire, “artistic expression,” or during discussions of video games and sporting events.

“We make sure to evaluate and understand the context behind the conversation before taking action,” Twitter said.

It is unclear exactly what will be defined as “artistic expression” by Twitter and the company did not provide an example.

The Epoch Times has contacted Twitter for further clarification.

The most notable change to the newly updated policy is that it now specifically states that users may not make threats of violence toward “others” as opposed to the company’s previous policy, which stated that threats should not be made against “an individual or a group of people.”

Shortly after purchasing Twitter for $44 billion last year, billionaire Musk vowed that the platform’s new policy would be “freedom of speech, but not freedom of reach.”

The Tesla CEO stated that negative or so-called hate tweets would be deboosted and demonetized and users would not be able to find the tweet unless they specifically searched for it.

Musk also rolled out new rules regarding doxxing—with those accounts now receiving a temporary suspension from Twitter—after suspending an account called “Elon Musk’s Jet” that tracked the movements of private planes, including those belonging to Musk.

The new rules came shortly after Musk claimed that a “crazy stalker” had blocked a vehicle that was carrying his young son and climbed onto the hood of the car.

From The Epoch Times

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