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Twitter bans dehumanising speech

Twitter has made a move to explicitly ban dehumanising speech.

The new moderation policy was released in a post on Tuesday (25.09.18) as company executives Del Harvey and Vijaya Gadde explained it was part of a continued effort to promote healthy conversations on the micro-blogging service while reducing real-world issues stemming from use of the service.

They explained: "Language that makes someone less than human can have repercussions off the service, including normalizing serious violence."

The post added that the new clause will go further than its previous rules against hate speech or racism, as it can be applied to all groups.

The policy defines dehumanisation as: "Language that treats others as less than human. Dehumanization can occur when others are denied of human qualities (animalistic dehumanization) or when others are denied of human nature (mechanistic dehumanization).

"Examples can include comparing groups to animals and viruses (animalistic), or reducing groups to their genitalia (mechanistic). (sic)"

Explaining an identifiable group, it adds: "Any group of people that can be distinguished by their shared characteristics such as their race, ethnicity, national origin, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, religious affiliation, age, disability, serious disease, occupation, political beliefs, location, or social practices."

Twitter will allow users to make their opinions or concerns over the rule known during an open comment period until October 9, and it has encouraged people to also submit "examples of speech that contributes to a healthy conversation, but may violate this policy".

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