Twitter removes transgender protections from hateful behavior policy

Twitter removes transgender protections from hateful behavior policy

New York (CNN) Twitter appears to have quietly withdrawn part of its hateful behavior policy, which included specific protections for transgender people.

The policy previously said that Twitter prohibits “targeting others with repeated insults, tropes, or any other content intended to mitigate or reinforce negative or harmful stereotypes about a protected category.” But the second line was removed earlier this month, according to archived versions of the site WayBack machine.

Twitter also removed a line from the policy that detailed specific groups of people who often face disproportionate abuse online, including “women, people of color, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, asexual, and marginalized and historically underrepresented communities. ”

The platform first introduced its policy banning misgender and dead-naming (referring to a person’s pre-transition name) of transgender people in 2018 as part of a broader overhaul of its hateful behavior policy.

The change to the hateful behavior policy is one of several updates Twitter has made to its security and content moderation practices since Elon Musk acquired the company last fall. Twitter has also restored the accounts of users previously banned for violating its rules, stopped enforcing its Covid-19 misinformation policy, allowed users to buy blue verification ticks and added controversial new labels to the accounts of several news organizations.

LGBTQ advocacy group GLAAD highlighted the change in hateful behavior policy in a statement Tuesday.

“Twitter’s decision to secretly reverse its longstanding policy is the latest example of how insecure the company is to users and advertisers alike,” said Sarah Kate Ellis, GLAAD President and CEO. “This decision to roll back on LGBTQ safety throws Twitter even more out of step with TikTok, Pinterest and Meta, all of which are pursuing similar policies to protect their transgender users at a time when anti-transgender rhetoric is online leads to discrimination and violence in the real world.”

Twitter didn’t respond to a request for comment on the change, although the platform did announce Some others earlier this week Update how it enforces its policy on hateful behavior. The platform said it plans to label and reduce the visibility of some tweets that violate its hateful behavior policy, a practice similar to the company’s previous leadership, under which it either reduced the visibility of hurtful tweets or removed.

“Limiting the reach of Tweets helps reduce the binary ‘leave up versus take down’ content moderation decisions and supports our free speech vs. free reach approach,” the company said in a tweet. Twitter also said it will not place ads next to content that has been flagged as infringing.

Musk was in the process of encouraging advertisers to return to the platform after many suspended spending over concerns about Musk’s policy changes, the rise of hate speech on the platform, and massive cuts to the company’s workforce that threatened the company’s core business.

The billionaire tried to reassure advertisers of Twitter’s approach to hateful behavior at a marketing conference on Tuesday, saying, “If someone has something hateful to say, it doesn’t mean they should be given a megaphone,” according to a report the Wall Street Diary.

Musk has faced criticism from some in the transgender community, most notably his transgender daughter Vivian Jenna Wilson. Last year, she petitioned a California court to change her last name to that of her mother Justine Wilson, Musk’s ex-wife and mother of five of his seven children, because she no longer wanted to be related to her father in any way, shape or form Shape.”

Musk also had several tweets mocking the idea of ​​people choosing the pronouns they want to apply to them. He had a tweet in December 2020, which he later deleted, that read, “If you put him/her in your bio,” alongside a drawing of an 18-year-old soldier cap that read, “I love to suppress.”

And this past December, Musk has been a vocal critic of many of the Covid restrictions and protocols tweeted“My pronouns are Prosecute/Fauci.”

But in other tweets, Musk has insisted he has no issues with transgender people, saying his problem lies with “all these pronouns,” which he called an “aesthetic nightmare.” He also pointed out that his car company Tesla (TSLA) has been repeatedly rated 100% as one of the “Best Places to Work for LGBTQ+ Equality” by the Human Rights Campaign.

— CNN’s Chris Isidore contributed to this report