icon bookmark-bicon bookmarkicon cameraicon checkicon chevron downicon chevron lefticon chevron righticon chevron upicon closeicon v-compressicon downloadicon editicon v-expandicon fbicon fileicon filtericon flag ruicon full chevron downicon full chevron lefticon full chevron righticon full chevron upicon gpicon insicon mailicon moveicon-musicicon mutedicon nomutedicon okicon v-pauseicon v-playicon searchicon shareicon sign inicon sign upicon stepbackicon stepforicon swipe downicon tagicon tagsicon tgicon trashicon twicon vkicon yticon wticon fm

Old wine, new bottles: Twitter’s ‘simplified’ rules are just as vague and arbitrary

Old wine, new bottles: Twitter’s ‘simplified’ rules are just as vague and arbitrary
Twitter has revamped its rules, cutting them into tweet-sized morsels in the name of a "healthier public conversation." Just as opaque and patronizing as before, they're now even more likely to get you banned. Move over, YouTube!

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.

"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."

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.

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."

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.

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

Like this story? Share it with a friend!

Podcasts