Twitter to warn users about their 'harmful' language before they tweet

WION Web Team
New Delhi, Delhi, IndiaUpdated: May 06, 2020, 09:58 AM IST

File photo: Twitter headquarters in San Francisco. Photograph:(AFP)

Story highlights

Twitter will prompt users to reconsider sending offensive messages, as it tries to clean up conversations on the platform.

Twitter will now notify its users before they tweet anything to deal with the rapid increase in harassment on its platform. The company on Tuesday said it's running a limited test on iOS that will show people a prompt if their reply to a tweet uses language that may be considered offensive. 

In this new feature, the company is conducting tests where users will receive a notification, suggesting them to edit the tweet before they send.

This new update will probably reduce toxic replies on the platform that takes place in the heat of the moment or during other situations.

According to the social media giant, when IOS users hit send, they will receive a notification warning the user of the harmful content whether the tweet is a reasonable argument or abusive.

“When things get heated, you may say things you don't mean,” said Twitter, justifying the decision. 

Last year, Instagram had introduced a similar test for its users that would warn them before they post anything offensive. The company had updated its efforts and said that the results have been positive.  

Though the company’s hateful conduct policy comprises of a long list of harmful language, Twitter will not provide a list of harmful languages in the new update. The social media platform strictly condemns abuse against women, LGBTQ community, asexual individuals, marginalised and historically underrepresented communities.

Also read: To study coronavirus, Twitter offers researchers access to real-time conversations

Abuse can be anything from threat to violence to spreading fear and deep down to slurs, one’s figure and other content.

A direct threat to violence is a federal crime under section 18 of the U.S. Code. However, Twitter’s policy on slurs and tropes has been irrational and the company was heavily criticised for it. 

The company had also been sued last year for $250 million for allegedly ‘shadow banning’ right-wingers. Alex Jones, the prominent right-wing figure was banned from Twitter recently but Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan was allowed to stay on Twitter after a tweet comparing Jews to “termites.” The tweet was pulled out last year.

The company was also accused of a concerted attack on women’s free speech last year after a feminist journalist was banned for addressing transgender women as “he.” 

Twitter can take its stand in the stand in the debate and enforce its rules according to its feasibility. It has done this several times in the last few months, targeting accounts under its hateful conduct policies.

No one knows what will happen to those who do not follow Twitter’s reminder to polish their language. No indication has been given as to what actions will be taken against the violators of the platforms law.