Twitter updates reporting guidelines to include people with disabilities

The social media platform has updated its guidelines to include content directed against people with disabilities as a violation of its policy.
Written by Jonathan Chadwick, Contributor

Twitter has updated its reporting form to include content that targets people with disabilities, the social networking giant announced on Monday.

"It is against our rules to directly attack or threaten someone based on their protected category, including disability," Twitter said. "You asked us to clarify this in our reporting flow, and we've updated it to be more specific."

Twitter's report page now includes "disability" as an example of a tweet that "Directs hate against a protected category" along with race, religion, gender, and orientation, having previously been omitted.

The update follows calls from disability advocate Natalie Weaver for Twitter to include hate against people with disabilities as a category in their violation reporting. Weaver had originally reported a tweet that used a photo of her daughter, who has Rett syndrome, to promote eugenics, according to The Mighty.

Twitter had initially refused to take down the tweet before eventually doing so and deleting the offending account, The Mighty reported.

Twitter had told a reporter that it didn't initially include hate towards disabled people in its violation reporting tool "because there wasn't enough space", according to Weaver, before finally making the changes on Monday.

Twitter said in December that it would enforce new rules going forward to "reduce hateful conduct and abusive behaviour" on its platform.

These include new rules on violence and physical harm, including a crackdown on accounts that "affiliate with organisations that use or promote violence" or content that "glorifies violence or the perpetrators of a violent act".

It also includes rules against behaviour that threatens other people "on the basis of their group characteristics", including violent threats or multiple slurs, epithets, racist or sexist tropes, or content that "incites fear or reduces someone to less than human".

Hateful imagery such as symbols or logos with the purpose of promoting hostility and malice against others "based on race, religion, disability, sexual orientation or ethnicity/national origin" was also made "sensitive imagery" under its media policy.

At least 20 notable accounts were either banned or suspended as a result of the rules, ZDNet's sister site CNET reported at the time, including Jayda Fransen, deputy leader of Britain First, as well as her group's official account; white nationalist Jared Taylor and his American Renaissance group; and the American Nazi Party.

Last September, Twitter said in its transparency report that it had suspended 299,000 accounts linked to terrorism in the previous six months.


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