Twitter updates its policies to remove tweets that dehumanise religious groups

Twitter won’t automatically flag offending posts but will review them when they are reported by users.


Twitter is now updating its hateful conduct policies to ban language that dehumanises religious groups.

The social media giant in a blog post revealed that the decision to update its rules to forbid "language that dehumanises others on the basis of religion" comes after "months of conversations."

Under the new rules, Twitter will remove tweets that express hateful opinions. The company says it will require old tweets that violate the new policy to be deleted, and that going forward Twitter may even suspend accounts that violate this rule.

Twitter updates its policies to remove tweets that dehumanise religious groups

A youth launches Twitter on a tablet in Cairo, Egypt. Reuters

While this may come across as obvious examples of hate speech, Twitter would not have removed these tweets under its previous policies, which only covered specific threats against individuals or calls for violence.

Twitter, having spent more than a year trying to make conversations more "healthy," has cited research linking dehumanising language to violence as one of the reasons for its latest policy change.

Tweets like these to be removed from Twitter when they’re reported. Image: Twitter

Tweets like these to be removed from Twitter when they’re reported. Image: Twitter

The social media company had previously stated it would ban content "that dehumanizes others based on their membership in an identifiable group," but in the blog post said it heard feedback that it needed a narrower focus.

Notably, though, the new rules do not address other groups that may be targeted by this type of hate speech. The company says it plans to eventually expand the policy to cover dehumanising language that singles out others based on their race, gender, or sexual orientation, though it's not clear how long that might take.

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