Old wine, new bottles: Twitter’s ‘simplified’ rules are just as vague and arbitrary
Twitter has presented its users with a reformulated "easier to understand" set of rules, moving most of the text off the main page for a pleasing aesthetic experience and upping the chance users will never read the detailed policies. The byzantine and often self-contradictory conduct code is chock full of pitfalls, and users are quickly finding out the range of bannable offenses has swollen to rival YouTube's and Facebook's.
Twitter’s new “healthy conversation” policies are helping to ensure that no-one will ever again be offended by wrong opinions or bad words. pic.twitter.com/SfYGrJbhkZ— Titania McGrath (@TitaniaMcGrath) June 6, 2019
"Private Information," "Sensitive Media" and "Terrorism & Violent Extremism" are the subsections advertised on the new rules page as having received a makeover, but reading through them is likely to leave the user even more confused than before. "We also prohibit the glorification of violence," the tweet-sized takeaway under "violence and extremism" reads, but if you click through to the actual policy page, it turns out "violent acts by state actors" get a pass.
Non-state actors – including Vox blogger Carlos Maza, whose complaints have been blamed for triggering Wednesday's mass deplatforming on YouTube – have also gotten away with what could fall under "glorification of violence," as some were quick to point out, noting their accounts had not only survived but thrived during the latest "purge."
So @voxdotcom defends @gaywonk when he says milkshake people he disagrees with to keep them from even talking? But making jokes or wearing a shirt that says “Socialism is for f*gs" with a fig tree in place of the * must be banned? 𝗣𝗿𝗮𝗰𝘁𝗶𝗰𝗲 𝘄𝗵𝗮𝘁 𝘆𝗼𝘂 𝗽𝗿𝗲𝗮𝗰𝗵! pic.twitter.com/If3atuFPls— Bob (@TheMunz) June 6, 2019
Another user raised the question of why Twitter would ask for government-issued identification in the course of a suspension appeal, and where that information might end up – considering how fellow tech giant Google hands over the personal data of tens of thousands of users yearly at the government's request.
"You may not … artificially amplify or suppress information or engage in behavior that manipulates or disrupts people’s experience"— kosh_ (@kosh_1) June 7, 2019
"If we believe you may be in violation … we may require you provide government-issued identification" #snoopy 🤨https://t.co/8WqLsqzdOK
Twitter's notoriously-vague hate speech rules have not been clarified – if anything, they've grown even more complex. There's a "hateful conduct" policy and an "abuse/harassment" policy, the latter of which includes "hoping that someone experiences physical harm," handing even more ammunition to the opponents of 'thought police'.
Still want to get somebody banned but can't find a rationale under the new and improved hate speech/harassment rules? Twitter has thoughtfully included a catch-all, menacingly vague prohibition against "platform manipulation" that echoes the "coordinated inauthentic behavior" reason Facebook gave for deplatforming hundreds of politically-active accounts before the 2018 US midterm elections.
"You may not use Twitter's services in a manner intended to artificially amplify or suppress information or engage in behavior that manipulates or disrupts people's experience on Twitter."
... seriously guys? Seriously? What does this even MEAN!? 🤦🏻♀️ https://t.co/1mXJLLeh7w— Ivory Honey ن (@IvoryHoney) June 6, 2019
The page warns users against tweeting too much, following too many people, "aggressively adding users to lists," trying to make accounts "appear more popular or active than they are," and tweeting with "excessive, unrelated hashtags" – among dozens more no-nos. But "hobby/artistic bots" are apparently OK – a ready-made loophole for the likes of New Knowledge, the American Democrat-linked "experts" who ran an army of fake "Russian bots."Also on rt.com The only ‘Russian bots’ to meddle in US elections belonged to Democrat-linked ‘experts’
The new rules don't explain the "unusual behavior" that has apparently become grounds for banning, and many users took the opportunity to lash out at the platform for its censorship.
@Twitter, help me understand.— StopHate.com🛑 (@HelpStopHate) June 3, 2019
1. Which behavior was unusual?
2. Which Twitter Rule was violated?
We didn't break any of these rules. So why are we still banned from advertising on Twitter? https://t.co/PKVWVKaKYg— PragerU (@prageru) June 6, 2019
Parody accounts are supposedly still allowed, though someone apparently forgot to tell whoever deplatformed the latest AOC parody account on Tuesday.
The new, improved Twitter rules dropped less than 24 hours after the #VoxAdpocalypse left hundreds of YouTubers demonetized or even deleted for so-called "supremacist content" – a vague term which in practice seems to have translated to "conservative political speech," since most white supremacist content had already been removed from the platform in earlier purges and "supremacist" content of any other kind appears to have been largely left alone.Also on rt.com ‘This will not go well’: YouTube cracks down on pundits & journalists after policy change
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