Twitter to crack down on harassment, abuse

Twitter to crack down on harassment, abuse
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Twitter plans to strengthen its rules on online bullying and sexual harassment following long-standing criticism that the company isn’t doing enough to stop abuse on its platform.

The San Francisco-based company will now impose more hefty penalties on violators of its terms and conditions, according to an email the company sent to safety advocates and researchers and obtained by Wired.

The rollout follows a series of tweets by Twitter co-founder and CEO Jack Dorsey, in which he said Twitter would be beefing up its safety policies.

“We see voices being silenced on Twitter every day. We’ve been working to counteract this for the past 2 years. We prioritized this in 2016. We updated our policies and increased the size of our teams. It wasn’t enough,” Dorsey wrote on Oct. 13.

Under the new guidelines, Twitter will now immediately and permanently ban accounts that the company identifies as the source of nonconsensual nudity or “revenge porn.”

The company will also introduce new rules on hate symbols and violent groups. Twitter will now “take enforcement action against organizations that use violence as a means to advance their cause.”

“We realize that a more aggressive policy and enforcement approach will result in the removal of more content from our service. We are comfortable making this decision,” the email to safety advocates says.

Twitter’s new changes come as the company faces scrutiny from lawmakers over how Russian actors may have used its platform to interfere in the 2016 elections. After Twitter briefed the Senate Intelligence Committee in September, Sen. Mark WarnerMark Robert WarnerTrump, Congress brace for Mueller findings The wisdom of Trump's lawyers, and the accountability that must follow Mueller's report Hillicon Valley: Kushner accused of using WhatsApp, personal email for official work | White House rejects request for Trump-Putin communications | Facebook left 'hundreds of millions' of passwords unsecured | Tech pressured to root out extremism MORE (D-Va.) railed against the company’s “disappointing” disclosure, which he said did not provide enough details.

Twitter representatives, along with those from Facebook and Google, are set to testify at a Nov. 1 Senate Intelligence Committee hearing on election interference. The company has also been invited to a House Intelligence Committee hearing on the same subject that same day.