Twitter bans 'dehumanizing' posts toward religious groups

Twitter will update its rules against hateful conduct in response to receiving thousands of feedback from Arabic, English, Spanish and Japanese users suggesting the platform should expand its policies. (File photo: Reuters)
Updated 09 July 2019
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Twitter bans 'dehumanizing' posts toward religious groups

CAIRO: Twitter will prohibit hate speech that targets religious groups with dehumanizing language following feedback from users.

The social media site will update its rules against hateful conduct in response to receiving thousands of feedback messages from Arabic, English, Spanish and Japanese users  suggesting the platform should expand its policies.

While Twitter already bars hateful language directed at individual religious adherents, Tuesday’s change broadens that rule to forbid likening entire religious groups to subhumans or vermin, the company said.

Twitter took a new approach last year by seeking feedback from across the four languages on updating its hateful conduct policy.

Arabic speakers were invited to submit their responses via Twitter MENA’s Arabic blog.

As a result, the site received more than 8,000 responses in two weeks from people located in more than 30 countries.

Later, months of conversations and feedback from the public led Twitter to expand its rules against hateful conduct to include language that dehumanizes others on the basis of religion.

Using this feedback, in addition opinions from experts, Twitter saw there are factors that should be addressed to expanded this rule.

Tweets that break this rule, and were sent before it became effective, will need to be deleted, but will not directly result in any account suspensions.

The company has come under fire — along with fellow social media networks such as Facebook and YouTube — for the prevalence of harassment and offensive language on its service.

The company says it may also ban similar language aimed at other groups such as those defined by gender, race and sexual orientation.


Netflix to roll out cheaper mobile-only plan for India

Updated 18 July 2019
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Netflix to roll out cheaper mobile-only plan for India

  • India is among the last big growth markets for the company
  • Netflix faces competition from Amazon’s Prime Video and Walt Disney Co’s Hotstar
Netflix said on Wednesday it would roll out a lower-priced mobile-only plan in India within the next three months to tap into a price-sensitive market at a time the streaming company is losing customers in its home turf.
India is among the last big growth markets for the company, where it faces competition from Amazon.com Inc’s Prime Video and Hotstar, a video streaming platform owned by Walt Disney Co’s India unit.
Netflix lost US streaming customers for the first time in eight years on Wednesday, when it posted quarterly results. It also missed targets for new subscribers overseas.
“India is a mobile-first nation, where many first-time users are experiencing the Internet on their phones. In such a scenario, a mobile-only package makes sense to target new users,” said Tarun Pathak, analyst at Counterpoint Research.
The creator of “Stranger Things” and “The Crown” said in March that it was testing a 250-rupee ($3.63) monthly subscription for mobile devices in India, where data plans are among the cheapest in the world.
The country figures prominently in Chief Executive Officer Reed Hastings’ global expansion plans.
“We believe this plan, which will launch in the third quarter, will be an effective way to introduce a larger number of people in India to Netflix and to further expand our business,” the company said in a letter to investors released late on Wednesday.
Netflix currently offers three monthly plans in India, priced between 500 rupees ($7.27) and 800 rupees $11.63).
It has created a niche following in the country by launching local original shows like the thriller “Sacred Games” and dystopian tale “Leila,” which feature popular Bollywood actors.
The second season of “Sacred Games” is set to release in August.
In contrast, Hotstar, which also offers content from AT&T Inc’s HBO and also streams live sports, charges 299 rupees ($4.35) per month. Amazon bundles its video and music streaming services with its Prime membership.
“We’ve been seeing nice steady increases in engagement with our Indian viewers that we think we can keep building on. Growth in that country is a marathon, so we’re in it for the long haul,” Netflix Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos said.