Twitter begins enforcing rules on ‘hateful, abusive’ content

This file photo shows a Twitter sign outside of the company’s headquarters in San Francisco on Wednesday, Oct. 26, 2016. (AP)
Updated 18 December 2017
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Twitter begins enforcing rules on ‘hateful, abusive’ content

WASHINGTON: Twitter said it began enforcing new rules Monday aimed at filtering out “hateful” and “abusive” content on the social network including messages which promote or glorify violence.
The platform has long faced criticism over how it deals with hate groups and content, which led it to remove verification badges from prominent US white nationalists last month.
“Specific threats of violence or wishing for serious physical harm, death, or disease to an individual or group of people is in violation of our policies,” the new rules state.
Also banned will be any content that “glorifies violence or the perpetrators of a violent act” as well as “hateful imagery” including logos or symbols associated with “hostility and malice” toward specific groups.
Twitter also said it would suspend “accounts that affiliate with organizations that use or promote violence against civilians to further their causes.”
But Twitter said it would not cut off accounts for military or government entities, and would consider exceptions “for groups that are currently engaging in (or have engaged in) peaceful resolution.”
The policies drew criticism last month when it took no action following one of President Donald Trump’s tweets which appeared to threaten violence against North Korea.
Twitter responded with a pledge to review its policy while noting that “newsworthiness” and public interest must be considered in deciding whether to take down a tweet.
The new policy marks the latest effort by social networks to remove content which promotes illegal or abusive activity while remaining open to dissent and controversial topics.
One account that was no longer visible on Twitter was that Britain First leader Jayda Fransen, whose anti-Islam messages were retweeted by Trump, and another leader of the group, Paul Golding.
Twitter declined to comment on any individual accounts and had no immediate information on the number of users impacted by the new enforcement, a spokeswoman said.


Facebook accused of discrimination with job ad targeting

Updated 19 September 2018
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Facebook accused of discrimination with job ad targeting

  • It charges that job ads on Facebook targeted male users only
  • Facebook lets advertisers target ads on the basis of gender and age, which is against the law in America

WASHINGTON: A complaint has been filed with the US government accusing Facebook and 10 other companies of using the platform’s job ad targeting system to discriminate on the basis of gender.
The complaint was announced Tuesday by the American Civil Liberties Union, a union called the Communications Workers of America and a labor law firm, on behalf of three female job seekers and a group of “thousands” of members represented by the union.
It charges that job ads on Facebook targeted male users only. It also alleges that most of the listings were for jobs in male-dominated fields, so women and non-binary users were excluded from seeing these ads.
Facebook lets advertisers target ads on the basis of gender and age, which is against the law in America, the complaint reads.
“I shouldn’t be shut out of the chance to hear about a job opportunity just because I am a woman,” said Bobbi Spees, one of the three women named in the complaint.
Facebook spokesman Joe Osborne said in a statement to CNNMoney that there is no place for discrimination on Facebook.
“It’s strictly prohibited in our policies, and over the past year we’ve strengthened our systems to further protect against misuse,” Osborne said.
Facebook will defend itself once it has reviewed the complaint, he added.
The ACLU noted that online platforms such as Facebook are generally not liable for content published by others.
“But in this case, Facebook is doing much more than merely publishing content created by others,” the advocacy group argued.
“It has built the architecture for this discriminatory marketing framework, enabled and encouraged advertisers to use it, and delivered the gender-based ads according to employers’ sex-based preferences.”
Last month the US Department of Housing and Urban Development accused Facebook of breaking the law by letting landlords and home sellers use its ad-targeting system to discriminate against potential buyers or tenants.
Facebook responded by cutting more than 5,000 ad-targeting options to prevent advertisers from discriminating on the basis of traits such as religion or race.