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Twitter announced in a statement issued Tuesday a new protected class is being recognized by the online forum: Religious groups. The move comes as one religion has campaigned for decades for a global ban on speech critical of Islam, while other major religions have been content to use public persuasion rather then the jackboot of government or corporate totalitarianism to deal with critics.
Several examples posted by Twitter are already covered under existing rules, so the addition of a protected class makes the move appear more toward controlling thought and debate than maintaining civil behavior online.
Twitter - Years - Notices - Critics - Islam
Twitter has in recent years sent warning notices to critics of Islam from the government of Pakistan and has also suspended accounts for criticism of Islam. This notice makes it official, however the guidelines are ambiguous and will likely have a chilling effect of muting critics.
Twitter said this is the first step and that more groups will be added to the protected list later.
Announcement - Twitter - Today - Expansion - Policy
Announcement posted by Twitter, “Today we’re announcing an expansion to this policy which will address dehumanizing language towards religious groups. This is just the first step. Over time we’ll expand the policy to include more groups and update you along the way. Learn more:”
We create our rules to keep people safe on Twitter, and they continuously evolve to reflect the realities of the world we operate within. Our primary focus is on addressing the risks of offline harm, and research* shows that dehumanizing language increases that risk. As a result, after months of conversations and feedback from the public, external experts and our own teams, we’re expanding our rules against hateful conduct to include language that dehumanizes others on the basis of religion.
Today - Tweets - Twitter
Starting today, we will require Tweets like these to be removed from Twitter when they’re reported to us:
If reported, Tweets that...
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