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Twitter Plans to Ban Dehumanizing Language

Twitter is revamping its policies to include a ban of dehumanizing language. The company previewed the changes Wednesday morning, and asked its users for input to refine the policy.

“Language that makes someone less than human can have repercussions off the service, including normalizing serious violence,” the company said in a blog post. Some of those tweets were already forbidden under current rules, but that’s not true for all of them.

“There are still Tweets many people consider to be abusive, even when they do not break our rules,” the post continued. “Better addressing this gap is part of our work to serve a healthy public conversation.”

Twitter’s newly-proposed rule changes would also ban language that compares groups of people or individual members of such groups to animals, as well as wording that reduces them to their genitalia.

“With this change, we want to expand our hateful conduct policy to include content that dehumanizes others based on their membership in an identifiable group, even when the material does not include a direct target,” the company said.

However, Twitter isn’t instituting these changes right away. Instead, it is asking its users for input via a survey that will be available for 2 weeks. The company said that it would consider any feedback before it actually updates its rules later this year.

Critics have long taken issue with the way Twitter enforces its rules. Users who are targeted by harassment frequently complain that the company isn’t acting on their reports despite the fact that flagged tweets clearly violate the company’s existing rules. Adding new rules may not really change that.

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