Twitter unveiled new measures against violent speech

Kerem Gülen
Mar 1, 2023

Twitter has announced its revised guidelines concerning violent content, which have become much stricter under the leadership of Elon Musk.

The new "zero-tolerance" policy considers threatening violence against individuals, including rape or murder, to be on par with the threat of damaging business infrastructure or property.

Twitter unveiled new measures against violent speech

The announcement was made on Wednesday via a tweet, and it seems to have both expanded upon and removed certain concepts from Twitter's previous policy on violent threats. While the revised policy is similar to its predecessor in terms of content, it is more specific in some areas while being more ambiguous in others.

"You may not threaten to inflict physical harm on others, which includes (but is not limited to) threatening to kill, torture, sexually assault, or otherwise hurt someone. This also includes threatening to damage civilian homes and shelters, or infrastructure that is essential to daily, civic, or business activities," Twitter's updated policy states.

In its commitment to enforcing its policies, the social media giant has now announced that users who are found to be in violation of its guidelines will face “immediate and permanent” suspension in most cases. While the specifics of the policy have not been fully revealed, the company has made it clear that in less serious scenarios, accounts may only face temporary suspension.

Another noteworthy update to the policy includes a new addition to the rules:

"You may not wish, hope, or express desire for harm. This includes (but is not limited to) hoping for others to die, suffer illnesses, tragic incidents, or experience other physically harmful consequences."

Despite Twitter's revised policy specifying that users will face immediate and permanent suspension for breaking the rules, with temporary suspension for less severe instances, the company has yet to provide clear guidelines on what constitutes violent speech. Additionally, the policy fails to differentiate between severe and less severe cases of such speech.

Certain situations won't be treated as violation

The social media giant has clarified that certain situations may permit the use of violent speech, such as in consensual conversations between friends or when discussing video games and sporting events, as long as there is no indication of abusive or violent behavior.

However, Twitter also emphasized that some figures of speech, satire, and artistic expressions are still permissible, provided they are used to express a viewpoint rather than incite violence or cause harm.

Twitter unveiled new measures against violent speech
Twitter unveiled new measures against violent speech

Under the previous version of Twitter's policy, the act of expressing a desire or hope for physical harm towards an individual did not fall under the enforcement of the violent speech policy. Instead, these types of statements were dealt with on a case-by-case basis under the abusive behavior or hateful conduct policies.

Before Elon Musk's ownership of the social media platform, he proposed that Twitter should follow the laws of the countries in which it operates and saw his acquisition as a way to defend freedom of expression.

Despite Elon Musk's ongoing discussions regarding freedom of speech, Twitter continues to impose limitations on certain types of speech, even if they may be legally permissible. The company's recent policy update is a prime example of this ongoing phenomenon.


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  1. I B Positing said on March 1, 2023 at 3:07 pm

    Too much subjective censoring everywhere on the internet, from all sides of the political spectrum.

    Filtering, censoring, on all platforms covered by section 203 of the U.S., communications decency act, should be client-side filtering only, with only actual illegal speech being flagged/removed, and with it a required reporting document sent to the proper authorities to determine whether the speech was actionable/prosecutable. Otherwise online speech should be hosted on “dumb pipes”. Section 230 should be amended to reflect that, thereby removing most of the subjective filtering as exists today.
    Client-side speech censoring could simply be another end user controlled facet of ad/spam blocking technology.

    Let’s too remember that when Elon Must bought twitter, one of his core intents was to censor less speech, but with the intended loss of anonymity, his very words were to the effect of verifiable speech.

    Those who fail to understand the importance of anonymity (what do i have to hide), ask yourself why voting is done by private balloting, and you’ll have your answer…

    1. I B Positing said on March 1, 2023 at 4:07 pm

      edit: Section 230

  2. John G. said on March 1, 2023 at 12:07 pm

    Twitter is the worst well of hate ever created, followed by Facebook and Instagram.

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