Twitter Assembles New Council to Prevent Abuse

The initiative continues the company’s efforts to protect its users.

Photo via Flickr (cc)

After seven years in which people could post freely without fear of consequence, Twitter has made recent strides to protect its users from “hateful conduct” and language that incites violence. Part of this endeavor is the Trust and Safety Council, a new coalition that will help the company prevent abuse, bullying, and harassment from occurring on its site.

The council is made up of over 40 organizations such as GLAAD and Feminist Frequency, The Huffington Post reports. It’s unclear how the initiative will fight abuse on such a massive, global platform. Twitter made no comment on whether users should expect changes to the company’s interface.

“With hundreds of millions of Tweets sent per day, the volume of content on Twitter is massive, which makes it extraordinarily complex to strike the right balance between fighting abuse and speaking truth to power,” Patricia Cartes, the company’s head of outreach, said.

Throughout 2015, Twitter reassessed and adjusted its stance on unmonitored free speech. In March, it banned revenge porn. In April, it banned language that incited violence by promoting terrorism or attacking people based on “race, ethnicity, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, age, or disability.”

But while “hateful conduct” is prohibited, Twitter was careful to distinguish—and allow—hateful speech. The implication of violence is the differentiating caveat here; while hate speech can be offensive, hurtful, and abusive, it is still allowed under Twitter’s free speech policy. The danger that speech will resulti in action, whether on the aggressor’s part or the victim’s (such as suicide), is what elevates it to the perilous category of hateful conduct.

Currently, Twitter users have the option to block, mute, and report potentially harmful entities. With this new council, hopefully Twitter can track and prevent abuse without leaving that onus on its users.

via Barry Schapiro / Twitter

The phrase "stay in your lane" is usually lobbed at celebrities who talk about politics on Twitter by people who disagree with them. People in the sports world will often get a "stick to sports" when they try to have an opinion that lies outside of the field of play.

Keep Reading

The Free the Nipple movement is trying to remove the stigma on women's breasts by making it culturally acceptable and legal for women to go topless in public. But it turns out, Free the Nipple might be fighting on the wrong front and should be focusing on freeing the nipple in a place you'd never expect. Your own home.

A woman in Utah is facing criminal charges for not wearing a shirt in her house, with prosecutors arguing that women's chests are culturally considered lewd.

Keep Reading

In August, the Recording Academy hired their first female CEO, Deborah Dugan. Ten days before the Grammys, Dugan was placed on administrative leave for misconduct allegations after a female employee said Dugan was "abusive" and created a "toxic and intolerable" work environment. However, Dugan says she was actually removed from her position for complaining to human resources about sexual harassment, pay disparities, and conflicts of interest in the award show's nomination process.

Just five days before the Grammys, Dugan filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, and her claims are many. Dugan says she was paid less than former CEO Neil Portnow. In 2018, Portnow received criticism for saying women need to "step up" when only two female acts won Grammys. Portnow decided to not renew his contract shortly after. Dugan says she was also asked to hire Portnow as a consultant for $750,000 a year, which she refused to do.

Keep Reading