Twitter Cracks Down on Speech: No More ‘Hate Symbols, Hateful Display Names’

But who gets to decide what is “hateful?”

The great #TwitterPurge is upon as the social media platform is beginning to suspend any account breaking its new rules, which include some that many feel encroaches on free speech and that will specifically target conservatives.

The new rules are being rolled out slowly over the next few months. The rest of October will be used to crack down on understandable content, such as “non-consensual nudity,” i.e. upskirt photos or hidden webcams. But by November, Twitter will be tackling “Hateful Imagery and Hate Symbols,” leaving everyone wondering, who gets to decide what is hateful or not?

Twitter states:

“Our media policy will be updated in the coming weeks to include hateful imagery and hate symbols. This means that this content will no longer be permitted in avatars or profile headers. Tweets containing this type of content will be placed behind an interstitial. We will share examples of hateful imagery and symbols when the policy is finalized.”

Is that going to included, say, Confederate flags? Nazi flags? Pepe the Frog? A middle finger? No one knows, yet. If someone posts about Christopher Columbus, or posts a picture of a Teddy Roosevelt statue, will that be tagged as “hateful imagery?” A lot of people think it should. And at the rate offenses change everyday, how will Twitter keep up?

Also, will Twitter finally denounce Islamic imagery, or ISIS-inspired accounts showing the jihadist black flag? What about people reporting on atrocities committed by Islamists — can that no longer be shown? There are myriad questions waiting in the balance.

In December, Twitter tells us it’s cracking down on posts that condone or glorify violence. Current rules on this are being expanded “to include types of content that glorify or condone acts of violence that result in death or serious physical harm.” Does that mean showing the aftermath of a terrorist attack is out of the question?

Some users are already seeing the effects of the purge as Twitter apparently is starting a massive groupthink effort:














Photo credit: Threesixty_PR via / CC BY-NC-SA