[lg policy] Twitter seeking feedback on new rule targeting 'dehumanizing language'

Harold Schiffman haroldfs at gmail.com
Thu Sep 27 10:37:35 EDT 2018


 Twitter seeking feedback on new rule targeting 'dehumanizing language'
"Language that makes someone less than human can have repercussions off the
service, including normalizing serious violence," Twitter's blog said.
Author: Meghan Kee
Published: 5:57 AM CDT September 26, 2018
Updated: 7:31 AM CDT September 26, 2018

Twitter has unveiled a new policy to stop cyberbullying, but the company is
asking for user feedback before making the new changes official.

The social media giant is now focusing in on dehumanizing language on its
platform. Twitter already prohibits users from tweeting out violence
against someone and direct attacks. Threats against certain groups based on
race, ethnicity, national origin, sexual orientation, gender, gender
identity, religion, age or disability are also already banned.
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The Twitter Safety account sent out a statement Tuesday addressing that
some dehumanizing language does not fall into those categories but can
cause real harm.

“Language that makes someone less than human can have repercussions off the
service, including normalizing serious violence,” Twitter’s blog said.

Examples of dehumanizing language include reducing someone to an animal or
virus or referring to them as their genitalia.

The company is asking for user feedback on the new policy before it becomes
an official Twitter rule. You can find the survey by clicking here.
<https://blog.twitter.com/official/en_us/topics/company/2018/Creating-new-policies-together.html>

Twitter’s survey on this new rule will be available until 6 p.m. on Oct. 9.

The new proposed rule is:

“You may not dehumanize anyone based on membership in an identifiable
group, as this speech can lead to offline harm.”

*Definitions:*

Dehumanization: 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).

Identifiable group: 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.

*Meghan Kee can be reached at mkee at wwltv.com <mkee at wwltv.com>*


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 Harold F. Schiffman

Professor Emeritus of
 Dravidian Linguistics and Culture
Dept. of South Asia Studies
University of Pennsylvania
Philadelphia, PA 19104-6305

Phone:  (215) 898-7475
Fax:  (215) 573-2138

Email:  haroldfs at gmail.com
http://ccat.sas.upenn.edu/~haroldfs/

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