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 Real Time with Bill Maher / YouTube and The Late Late Show with James Corden / YouTube

A controversial editorial on America's obesity epidemic and healthcare by comedian Bill Maher on his HBO show "Real Time" inspired a thoughtful, and funny, response by James Cordon. It also made for a great debate about healthcare that Americans are avoiding.

At the end of the September 6th episode of "Real Time, " Maher turned to the camera for his usual editorial and discussed how obesity is a huge part of the healthcare debate that no one is having.

"At Next Thursday's debate, one of the candidates has to say, 'The problem with our healthcare system is Americans eat shit and too much of it.' All the candidates will mention their health plans but no one will bring up the key factor: the citizens don't lift a finger to help," Maher said sternly.

Keep Reading Show less

There is no shortage of proposals from the, um, what's the word for it… huge, group of Democratic presidential candidates this year. But one may stand out from the pack as being not just bold but also necessary; during a CNN town hall about climate change Andrew Yang proposed a "green amendment" to the constitution.

Keep Reading Show less
Me Too Kit

The creator of the Me Too kit — an at home rape kit that has yet to hit the market — has come under fire as sexual assault advocates argue the kit is dangerous and misleading for women.

The kit is marketed as "the first ever at home kit for commercial use," according to the company's website. "Your experience. Your kit. Your story. Your life. Your choice. Every survivor has a story, every survivor has a voice." Customers will soon be able order one of the DIY kits in order to collect evidence "within the confines of the survivor's chosen place of safety" after an assault.

"With MeToo Kit, we are able to collect DNA samples and other tissues, which upon testing can provide the necessary time-sensitive evidence required in a court of law to identify a sexual predator's involvement with sexual assault," according to the website.

Keep Reading Show less

Villagers rejoice as they receive the first vaccines ever delivered via drone in the Congo

The area's topography makes transporting medicines a treacherous task.

Photo by Henry Sempangi Senyule

When we discuss barriers to healthcare in the developed world, affordability is commonly the biggest concern. But for some in the developing world, physical distance and topography can be the difference between life and death.

Widjifake, a hard-to-reach village in northwestern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) with a population of 6,500, struggles with having consistent access to healthcare supplies due to the Congo River and its winding tributaries.

It can take up to three hours for vehicles carrying supplies to reach the village.

Keep Reading Show less
via Keith Boykin / Twitter

Fox News and President Trump seem like they may be headed for a breakup. "Fox is a lot different than it used to be," Trump told reporters in August after one of the network's polls found him trailing for Democrats in the 2020 election.

"There's something going on at Fox, I'll tell you right now. And I'm not happy with it," he continued.

Some Fox anchors have hit back at the president over his criticisms. "Well, first of all, Mr. President, we don't work for you," Neil Cavuto said on the air. "I don't work for you. My job is to cover you, not fawn over you or rip you, just report on you."

Keep Reading Show less