It’s been a couple of weeks now since Twitter changed their rules of conduct to highlight the fact that violent threats and abusive behaviour are not tolerated, and I have to say I have noticed a bit of a difference.
Normally in my newsfeed I come across a few threads which are full out battles which include threats, racist or hate speech, negative stereotypes being used and full-on hate for someone because of how they were born.
So while I am seeing a reduction in this type of behaviour from nitwits, I’m not sure how these rules reduce the threat of extremists from using Twitter to recruit members and promote their illegal activities.
Personally, I’d like to see a case come up and then see how Twitter handles it. The proof really is in the pudding, right?
The company has said: “The updated language emphasizes that Twitter will not tolerate behaviour intended to harass, intimidate, or use fear to silence another user’s voice. As always, we embrace and encourage diverse opinions and beliefs — but we will continue to take action on accounts that cross the line into abuse.”
So what has changed? Well, the new language gives Twitter the authority to suspend or shutter any user account that engages in “hateful conduct” or whose “primary purpose is inciting harm towards others.”
But it’s not that this was allowed before, right? Twitter has always said that users could not promote or threaten violence, but the new wording broadens the scope, by using language under “hateful conduct” like this: “You may not 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.”
The new policy also explicitly bans the creating of multiple accounts which contain the same users so that if one account is suspended the bad guys just use another account right away.
Ideally, the other thing Twitter needs to look at is the long inactive accounts which people want, and to open up a service whereby for either a small fee – possibly a donation – or by making a compelling case, they will close the inactive account and provide access to users who really want or need them for, I don’t know, their blogs maybe.
In my case, to be specific, the ideal twitter handle only had a few posts over a couple of years and then has fallen silent for the last 3 years, whereas I’ve been blogging under this name for over 11-years. I’d love to get my hands on that account to clean up my social media but the owner of that account does not respond and Twitter does not do anything.
But I digress!
If people cannot be nice to each other and polite online, understanding that they are unlikely to change anyone’s view in 140 characters and with hateful language, they deserve to have their accounts pulled.
I hope to see Twitter take action and when they do, I hope it sends a message to the haters to lighten up and start being nice, or find another service.