Twitter vowed to crack down further on hate speech and sexual harassment, days after CEO Jack Dorsey said in a tweet-storm that the company was “still” not doing enough to protect its users.
The policy changes were specifically aimed at protecting women who unknowingly or unwillingly had nude pictures of themselves distributed online or were subject to unwanted sexual advances. They would also aim to shield groups subject to hateful imagery, symbols and threats of violence.
In an email Twitter shared with The Associated Press Tuesday, Twitter’s head of safety policy outlined the new guidelines to the company’s Trust and Safety Council, a group of outside organizations that advises the company on its policies against abuse.
The company said it would enact the changes in the weeks ahead. News of the policy changes was first reported by Wired.
Among the changes, Twitter said it would immediately and permanently suspend any account it identifies as being the original poster of “non-consensual nudity,” including so-called “creep shots” of a sexual nature taken surreptitiously. Previously, the company treated the original poster of the content the same as those who re-tweeted it, and it resulted only in a temporary suspension.
It said it would also develop a system allowing bystanders to report unwanted exchanges of sexually charged content, whereas in the past it relied on one of the parties involved in the conversation to come forward before taking action.
We’ve identified gaps here too. Consistent interpretation and enforcement of our rules is our objective. We also need to remove the burden of reporting from those who are targeted. We’ve prioritized the work. https://t.co/n8WGqqyRaJ
Twitter also said it would take new action on hate symbols and imagery and “take enforcement action against organizations that use/have historically used violence as a means to advance their cause,” though it said more details were to come.
While it already takes action against direct threats of violence, the company said it would also act against tweets that glorify or condone violence.
On Friday, Dorsey foreshadowed the coming policy changes in a series of tweets, saying the company’s efforts over the last two years were inadequate.
“Today we saw voices silencing themselves and voices speaking out because we’re (asterisk)still(asterisk) not doing enough,” Dorsey tweeted.
4/ Today we saw voices silencing themselves and voices speaking out because we’re *still* not doing enough.
6/ We decided to take a more aggressive stance in our rules and how we enforce them.
8/ These changes will start rolling out in the next few weeks. More to share next week.
The moves also come amid intense scrutiny from congressional investigators into how Russian agents used Twitter, Facebook and Google to influence last year’s U.S. election. Twitter has said it would appear at a public congressional hearing on Nov. 1 after already briefing a Senate committee. The company has handed over the handles of 201 accounts it believes were linked to Russia. It has also said at least $274,000 in U.S. ads were bought by Russia Today, a Russian-government-linked media outlet, last year.