Twitter is reviewing policies on permanent user bans

Twitter is reviewing its controversial policy on permanently banning users and may align its content moderation better with Elon Musk’s vision for the social media platform, regardless of whether the Tesla boss becomes its owner.

According to several people familiar with the situation, the Silicon Valley company has been exploring whether there are other content moderation tools that could replace its harshest penalty for violating certain rules.

However, a change is unlikely to pave the way for Donald Trump’s return to the platform, two of the people said, as lifting bans for violating his policy against inciting violence is not being considered. The former US President was banned for life shortly after a mob of his supporters invaded the US Capitol on January 6 last year.

Instead, staff are looking at areas where they think Twitter may have been disproportionately sluggish when it came to banning users from its services for minor offenses, such as: B. Sharing misleading information.

The review, which began months ago and has yet to come to a conclusion, comes amid renewed focus on the policy following the temporary suspension of American rapper Kanye West’s account after he posted an anti-Semitic message on Saturday.

An easing of the policy of permanent bans has been touted by Musk, who surprisingly revealed last week that he was suing Twitter for a $44 billion profile.

On Friday, the Delaware judge overseeing the case, which was scheduled to go to trial Oct. 17, agreed to stay the trial until November to give both sides more time to find a resolution. If and when the Twitter sale will take place is still unclear.

Musk, who describes himself as a “free speech absolutist,” has previously said that if the platform were taken over, he would relax Twitter’s moderation rules, moving from permanent bans to “timeouts” or suspensions.

He has also suggested reducing the visibility of objectionable content in users’ feeds or giving them more choices about what they see. “I think being able to change the content you see from ‘warm & fuzzy’ to ‘bring it on mf!’ is the way to go,” he wrote on Twitter last week.

A Twitter spokesman said the company is “always investigating the rules that govern our service, as well as the tools and features that can foster healthy conversations.”

According to its website, San Francisco-based Twitter imposes perpetual bans on users who have violated its rules “in a particularly egregious way” or “repeatedly violated it, even after receiving notifications from us.”

For example, Twitter’s policies do not allow users to share violent threats, terrorism, harassment, and hate speech. For areas like sharing Covid misinformation, Twitter has a clear “strike” policy – ​​with five breaches or strikes resulting in a permanent ban.

In addition to bans, Twitter also imposes temporary account suspensions and flags or reduces the visibility of content that violates its rules.

A move away from permanent bans would be welcomed by Republicans, many of whom have complained about the censorship of conservative voices on social media platforms — allegations the platforms deny. In contrast, many left-wing politicians and human rights activists have urged platforms to crack down on the worst offenders.

Twitter is an outlier when it comes to dealing with Trump. Rival Meta has said it will lift its ban on Trump from January if the risk of violence has decreased, while YouTube has issued a similar statement.

In May, Musk told the Financial Times that he would reverse Trump’s ban, adding that he had the support of Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey. Twitter is reviewing policies on permanent user bans

Adam Bradshaw

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