by Mila Madison
New policy aimed at combating Internet violence towards the transgender community.
In an effort to curb online abuse towards marginalized communities, social media giant Twitter has updated their “hateful conduct policy” in their terms of service to protect transgender users from being dead named or misgendered. Those who violate the new policy could have their accounts suspended or ultimately banned from the service altogether.
“We recognise that if people experience abuse on Twitter, it can jeopardize their ability to express themselves. Research has shown that some groups of people are disproportionately targeted with abuse online,” the new policy states. “This includes; women, people of colour, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, asexual individuals, marginalized and historically underrepresented communities. For those who identity with multiple underrepresented groups, abuse may be more common, more severe in nature and have a higher impact on those targeted.”
The statement goes on to say that they now prohibit abuse aimed at groups who are historically marginalized.
“We are committed to combating abuse motivated by hatred, prejudice or intolerance, particularly abuse that seeks to silence the voices of those who have been historically marginalized. For this reason, we prohibit behaviour that targets individuals with abuse based on protected category.”
The policy specifically lists the prohibition of targeted misgendering and dead naming of transgender individuals.
“We prohibit targeting individuals with repeated slurs, tropes or other content that intends to dehumanize, degrade or reinforce negative or harmful stereotypes about a protected category. This includes targeted misgendering or dead naming of transgender individuals.”
Twitter updated this policy in October; however the news became viral after some users became aware of the policy change over Thanksgiving weekend and began to spread the news.
Many are celebrating the new changes while some remain sceptical over whether the new policies will be strictly enforced. One user tweeted out Twitter’s response after having reported accounts that have violated the policy.