Twitter has announced a new policy on violent content under the leadership of Elon Musk.
The new Violent Content policy “prohibits violent threats, wishes of harm, glorification of violence, and incitement of violence”.
“Twitter has a zero-tolerance approach towards Violent Speech, and in most cases, we will suspend any account violating this policy,” Twitter Safety tweeted Wednesday. “For less severe violations, we may require you to delete the content before you can access your account again.”
Twitter has a zero-tolerance approach towards Violent Speech, and in most cases, we will suspend any account violating this policy. For less severe violations, we may require you to delete the content before you can access your account again.
— Twitter Safety (@TwitterSafety) February 28, 2023
The contents of the policy, however, are similar to Twitter’s previous Violent Threats policy, except the revised rules specifically cover wishes of harm. “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,” according to the updated policy, which also prohibits threats against “civilian homes and shelters, or infrastructure”.
Twitter has been undergoing a radical change since Musk took over the company in October 2022. The research conducted by various advocacy groups into patterns of rising violent content on the platform indicated that hate speech and harassment were rising dramatically following Musk’s takeover. The billionaire, however, has repeatedly claimed a decline in hate speech on Twitter under his management.
Musk has been called out by digital rights advocates for his arbitrary censorship of content, journalists and marginalised voices. In December 2022, several journalists were banned from accessing Twitter for reporting on Musk, who, after conducting a public poll, reinstated their accounts. He was also called out for blocking celebrities and other public figures who impersonated Musk after he rolled out paid verification badges for all users. Moreover, the “free speech absolutist” took off accounts that reported his flight schedules from publicly available data.
Musk was forced back into his proposed $44 billion acquisition deal after he tried to walk away from it, citing misleading claims about the number of inauthentic accounts on Twitter by its executives. However, the popular social networking platform plunged into chaos soon after Musk took over and almost half of the global staff were slashed as part of a massive cost-cutting move. The sweeping layoffs impacted a number of crucial teams, including those looking after human rights issues and moderation cases.