Leaked Twitter email details bigger plan to tackle abusive users

Jack Dorsey 2015

Jack Dorsey 2015

Twitter, a platform infested with trolls, hate and abuse, can be one of the worst places on the Internet. In it, we see Twitter's Head of Safety Policy reportedly addressing the company's Trust & Safety Council members.

While it already takes action against direct threats of violence, the company said it would also act against tweets that glorify or condone violence. The company plans to also provide more details about how it will take action against hate symbols and violent groups.

Twitter has not yet defined what the policy around hate symbols will cover but "At a high level, hateful imagery, hate symbols, etc will now be considered sensitive media" - similar to the way Twitter handles adult content and graphic violence, the email stated.

Twitter's downward spiral into a platform where abuse thrives has been well-documented over the years, but harassment on Twitter is in the news again this week because the company suspended actress Rose McGowan after she tweeted about sexual abuse in Hollywood. "That way they won't be a drain on social services" would now fall under Twitter's enforcement policy. The company will also crackdown on unwanted sexual advances made over the platform through a better "bystander reporting" feature. Whereas the existing policy is to treat these users as if they are someone who could have shared the content unknowingly, the new policy will be to "immediately and permanently suspend any account we identify as the original poster/source of non-consensual nudity and/or if a user makes it clear they are intentionally posting said content to harass their target".

The email, obtained by Wired, shows that Twitter will require deeper account reviews in response to certain types of harassment reports.

"If the account appears to be dedicated to posting non-consensual nudity then we will suspend the entire account immediately", it added. Compounding the problem is Twitter's seemingly unpredictable enforcement of the rules.

It sounds like Twitter used to require a report from someone pictured in a non-consensual image before it would remove the content - but that's also changing, the email says.

"We realise that a more aggressive policy and enforcement approach will result in the removal of more content from our service". "We are comfortable making this decision, assuming that we will only be removing abusive content that violates our Rules".

I've reached out to Twitter and will update this story if I hear back.