Twitter is taking a big step to help protect transgender individuals targeted, harassed, and bullied on their platform. The organization announced updates to their user “Hate Conduct Policy,” that prohibits users from misgendering and deadnaming trans individuals. Through the policy change, Twitter hopes to curtail the anti-trans abuse that runs rampant on social media site.
While the changes to the policy took place in October, the media didn’t pick up on the amendment until a few weeks ago. The news has quickly run through numerous LGBT+ sites. However, the report has failed to catch on in larger mainstream news outlets.
According to the updated policy, Twitter users cannot target transgender individuals by using insults to misgender them or use their deadname. A deadname is the birth name of an individual that has recently changed their name.
Twitter recognizes that users that target transgender people purposely call them by their gender assigned at birth and use their deadname to harass and ridicule them.
Regarding the rationale for updating the policy, Twitter stated:
“We recognise that if people experience abuse on Twitter, it can jeopardize their ability to express themselves. Research has shown that some groups of people are disproportionately targeted with abuse online.
This includes; women, people of color, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, asexual individuals, marginalized and historically underrepresented communities.
For those who identity with multiple underrepresented groups, abuse may be more common, more severe in nature and have a higher impact on those targeted.”
Twitter says they no longer want the transgender community to feel unsafe on their platform.
“We are committed to combating abuse motivated by hatred, prejudice or intolerance, particularly abuse that seeks to silence the voices of those who have been historically marginalized. For this reason, we prohibit behavior that targets individuals with abuse based on protected category.”
Due to the updated policy, individuals targeted with abuse and hateful comments can report the comments to Twitter.
After Twitter reviews the account and comments in question, the platform says there will enforce various penalties depending on the outcome.
In the consequences section of the policy, Twitter mentions,
“When determining the penalty for violating this policy, we consider a number of factors including, but not limited to the severity of the violation and an individual’s previous record of rule violations.
For example, we may ask someone to remove the violating content and serve a period of time in read-only mode before they can Tweet again.
Subsequent violations will lead to longer read-only periods and may eventually result in permanent account suspension.
If an account is engaging primarily in abusive behavior, or is deemed to have shared a violent threat, we will permanently suspend the account upon initial review.”
One tweeted: “nb deadnaming and misgendering are now prohibited on Twitter. which is very good news!”
Another said: “Excellent news everyone. Twitter has finally updated their TOS such that misgendering/deadnaming a trans person is against the site’s rules. Happy hunting.”
However, others Pro-trans users remain skeptical that the platform will enforce the new rules.
One such user wrote: “Good start. We’ll have to see if reporting is meaningful or the policy enforced.”
For now, the policy is a step forward to help the anti-trans bullying that occurs on the platform. Users bullied by others can report the abuse to Twitter. Finally, users that abuse and attack transgender people can face a permanent banning from Twitter.
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