On Friday, Twitter announced a new version of its Twitter Rules. According to the company: “online behavior continues to evolve and change, and at Twitter, we have to ensure those changes are reflected in our rules in a way that’s easy to adhere to and understand.” The new rules don’t affect the basis of its previous rules, but they will be helpful to explain its policies and implementation.
“We have worked on this clarified version of our rules for the past few months to ensure it takes into account the latest trends in online behavior, considers different cultural and social contexts, and properly sets expectations around what’s allowed on Twitter,” read the announcement.
Twitter is updating its rules and policies on abusive behavior, self-harm, spam, graphic violence, and adult content, after years of fumbling and disapproval from users, activist groups, and former employees.
The update comes two weeks after Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey tweeted that the social network is focused on how it monitors content and protects its 328 million users from online bullying and harassment. As far as abuse is in social network, this is not new to Twitter users; but it has grown worse since October’s #WomenBoycottTwitter protest, which advised people to stop tweeting for a day to push Twitter into refining its content.
The company had also shared its new rules on its website, and some of the highlights are:
• Twitter will now send an email to an account that it suspends for violating abuse policies explaining which policy they violated.
• Twitter emphasized that the context of a tweet and its newsworthiness is important when evaluating abusive behavior and figuring out appropriate action. The company also considers factors like whether the behavior targets an individual or group, and if a report has been filed.
• When Twitter gets reports of suicidal tweets or tweets promoting self-harm, the company might reach out to the person and provide assistance in getting in touch with mental health professionals.
• Twitter now defines “spam” specifically as “bulk or aggressive activity that attempts to manipulate or disrupt Twitter’s user experience, to drive traffic or attention to unrelated accounts, products, services, or initiatives.”
• Twitter provided more detail about what it considers “graphic violence” (gruesome death, crime and accident scenes, bodily harm, dismemberment, and torture) and “adult content” (full or partial nudity, simulations of sexual acts), but notes that some of this content might be permitted if marked as “sensitive media”.
Twitter has also mentioned they will provide more facts about how the company can review and impose the new policies on November 14 and 22, which will include more rules for violent groups, hateful imagery, and abusive usernames.