Rules On Online Harassment, Abuse Planned To Be Toughened By Twitter

According to an email it sent to a group of safety advocates, academics and researchers that helps the social media service set its policies, Twitter Inc plans to toughen its rules on online sexual harassment and impose stronger penalties for misconduct.

In the history of Twitter, the repeated allegations of sexual harassment and trolling have been among the biggest and long-lasting problems for the social media platform and the new rules, which will likely be introduced in the next few weeks, are aimed at tackling that long standing problem.

announcing plans to act more aggressively to limit the number of bullies and harassers using Twitter, the plans followed a series of tweets by Chief Executive Jack Dorsey on Friday.

According to the new rules and regulations, if Twitter is able to identify and locate an account to be the original poster or source of non-consensual nudity, then the social media would immediately and permanently suspensions that particular account. This has been prescribed as the most important point under the new guidelines. Inclusion of what it called “upskirt imagery, creep shots and hidden camera content” will be made in Twitter’s new definition of non-consensual nudity and the original accounts perpetrating such acts will also be suspended with immediate effect.

Twitter’s Trust and Safety Council as sent the new rules and guidelines in a letter from Twitter’s head of safety policy that has been reportedly also seen by the media.

While earlier, unwanted sexual advances had to be reported by users directly involved in the situation but under the new regulations and guidelines as is being planned by Twitter, even bystanders would be allowed to report such incidents to the micro-blogging online platform.

Details on a change in policy which would include hate symbols and imagery in its definition of sensitive media have also been promised to be published by it.

It was just a week ago that there was huge uproar against the suspension of the account of actress Rose McGowan, who spoke out against Harvey Weinstein, the producer who faces allegations that he sexually harassed or assaulted a number of women over three decades in the film business, following which a large number of female users boycotted the service. Dorsey’s pledge to revamp Twitter’s guidelines came after those boycotts by users. The allegations against Weinstein has been denied by him adding that there was no instance of non-consensual sex with anyone.

And as U.S. lawmakers are investigating allegations of Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, there has also been scrutiny of Twitter wihitini the ambit oof those investigations.

Sources reportedly told the media that the profile names of 201 accounts it had determined were linked to an effort by Moscow to sow discord and divisiveness during and after the campaign were handed over by Twitter last week to the U.S. Senate investigators of the case.

Twitter’s cooperation in the case has been previously described as “frankly inadequate” by Senator Mark Warner, the top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee investigating Russian interference.

(Adapted from Reuters)

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