Twitter and Instagram Unveil New Ways to Combat Hate—Again

WIRED | 7/11/2019 | Sara Harrison
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Twitter and Instagram would like us all to be a little bit nicer to each other. To that end, this week both companies announced new content moderation policies that will, maybe, shield users from the unbridled harassment and hate speech we wreak on each other. Instagram’s anti-bullying initiative will rely on artificial intelligence, while Twitter will use human moderators to determine when language “dehumanizes others on the basis of religion.” In the end, both platforms face the same problem: In the blurry world of content moderation, context is everything and our technology isn’t up to the task.

In September, Twitter initially proposed a more ambitious policy targeting dehumanizing language aimed at a variety of groups including people of different races, sexual orientation, or political beliefs. The platform then asked users for help developing guidelines to implement that policy. After 10 months and 8,000 responses, Twitter finally put a narrower version of the policy into action on Tuesday. Users can report tweets that compare religions to plagues or viruses, or describe certain groups as insects or rodents. Twitter’s AI will also search out those derogatory terms, but the suspect tweets will always be reviewed by a human who will make the final call. If they decide the tweet is inappropriate, Twitter will alert the offending user and ask them to take down the post; if the user refuses, Twitter will lock the account.

Twitter - Policy - Content - Language - Threats

Twitter says the more focused policy will allow it to test how to moderate potentially offensive content where language can be more ambiguous than personal threats, which are banned. However, some critics see the narrower scope as a retreat. “Dehumanization is a great start, but if dehumanization starts and stops at religious categories alone, that does not encapsulate all the ways people have been dehumanized,” Rashad Robinson, president of civil...
(Excerpt) Read more at: WIRED
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