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Twitter’s new safety policies

Read about the new safety policies being rolled out by Twitter in the coming weeks.


Written by SpunOut | View this authors Twitter page and posted in news


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Twitter has announced that they will be rolling out new safety policies over the next few months. The new policies will change some of the rules around what is allowed on Twitter and also aim to improve the experience of reporting a user for inapproriate behaviour.

Here's an outline of some of these changes and what they'll mean for users on Twitter.

Non-consensual nudity

Twitter’s Current Policy

Currently, anyone who posts non-consensual nudity will be asked to delete the tweet and will be temporarily blocked from their account. This happens whether they tweeted the material on purpose or if they unknowingly shared something non-consensual. 

If they post non-consensual nudity again, their account will be permanently suspended.

Twitter’s new policy

  • Twitter will redefine the term ‘non-consensual nudity’ to include content like upskirt imagery, “creep shots,” and hidden camera content. Anyone can report this content, since the target may not know the tweets actually exist.
  • If an account is identified as the original source of non-consensual nudity and/or it is clear that the user is posting this content to intentionally harass someone, their account will be immediately and permanently suspended.
  • When a Tweet-level report is received about an account posting non-consensual nudity, a full account review will be carried out. If this review finds the account is dedicated to posting non-consensual nudity, Twitter will suspend the entire account immediately.

Unwanted sexual advances

Twitter’s current policy

Pornography and sexually charged conversation is generally allowed on Twitter. The only time Twitter will take enforcement action is if/when a participant in the conversation reports the conversation. This is because it can be hard to tell if the sexual content is wanted or consensual to a bystander, so it is up to the participant to report it.

A person who is not involved in the conversation cannot report this as an unwanted sexual advance.

Twitter’s new policy

  • The Twitter Rules will be updated to make it clear unwanted sexual advances are unacceptable. They will continue to only take enforcement action if a participant in the conversation reports it.
  • Twitter are developing improvements to bystander reporting, and they will begin to look at past interaction signals (such as blocking or muting an account) to determine whether something may be unwanted.

Hate symbols and imagery

Twitter is developing a new policy aound hate symbols and imagery.

Hateful imagery and hate symbols will be considered ‘sensitive media’ and will be handled and enforced in the same way as adult content and graphic violence. This type of imagery won't be allowed in avatars or profile headers.

This policy is being developed and will be launched on November 22nd, 2017.

Violent groups

Twitter is also developing a policy around violent groups. This will include suspending groups and organisations who have historically used violence as a way of advancing their cause.

This policy has still to be developed and Twitter will outline the factors considered in identifying these kinds of groups.

This policy will be launched on November 22nd, 2017.

Tweets that glorify violence

Twitter’s current policy

Twitter currently take enforcement action against:

  • Direct violent threats e.g. “I’m going to kill you”
  • Vague violent threats e.g. “Someone should kill you”
  • Wishes/hopes of serious physical harm, death, or disease e.g.“I hope someone kills you”

Twitter’s new policy

Going forward, Twitter will also take enforcement action against tweets that glorify and/or condone violence.

This could include celebrating a shooting, or expressing the view that violence against a certain group of people is a positive thing.

Explaining these new rules

In order to make sure Twitter users fully understand the new rules and policies on what is and isn’t allowed on the platform, Twitter will be taking these steps:

  • Updating the Twitter Rules.
  • Updating the Twitter Media Policy to clarify what is meant by adult content, graphic violence, and hate symbols.
  • Launching a Help Centre to explain what happens when a Tweet is reported, and the different enforcement options they can choose from in dealing with a report.
  • Launching policy-specific help pages to provide more details on what the policy is, examples of what kind of content crosses the line, and what to expect when a tweet is reported.
  • Updating the messages users receive when their account is locked, suspended, appealed or another action taken.

To find out when these changes will be implemented, view the calendar of safety work.

Read our fact sheet about staying safe on Twitter.

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Published October 26th, 2017
Last updated November 3rd, 2017
Tags twitter online safety
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