Twitter has updated its hate speech policies to cover tweets that make dehumanizing remarks, which are remarks that treat “others as less than human,” on the basis of disability, age or disease. The changes follow updates to the company’s policies made last July that said Twitter would remove tweets that dehumanize religious groups.
Prior to that, Twitter issued a broad ban in 2018 on dehumanizing speech to compliment its existing hate speech policies that cover protected classes like race and gender. It has since been updating these dehumanization policies to take into account specific cases its original ruleset failed to address, based on user feedback.
The company says reported tweets in violation of these new policies but posted before today will be removed but won’t result in account suspensions.
Twitter first rolled out policies banning dehumanizing speech in September 2018. At the time, Twitter asked for feedback and later said it received more than 8,000 responses across more than 30 countries in just two weeks time. Much of the feedback revolved around the policies being too broad. So Twitter has begun calling out specific types of speech against specific groups as against its rules, starting with religion and now age, disability, and disease.
In a tweet, the company indicates that more groups will eventually be protected by this policy:
“We continuously examine our rules to help make Twitter safer. Last year we updated our Hateful Conduct policy to address dehumanizing speech, starting with one protected category: religious groups. Now, we’re expanding to three more: age, disease and disability.”