Twitter expands hate speech rules to include race, ethnicity

Microblogging company Twitter Inc on Wednesday expanded its policy barring hateful speech to include language that dehumanizes people on the basis of race, ethnicity and national origin. In a statement, the company said that it has banned speech that dehumanizes others based on religion or caste last year and updated the rule in March to add age, disability and disease to the list of protected categories.

Civil rights group Color of Change called the changes “essential concessions” following years of outside pressure. A Twitter spokeswoman stated that Twitter had planned from the start to add new categories to the policy over time after testing to ensure it can consistently enforce updated rules.

In a statement, Color Of Change Vice President Arisha Hatch criticized the microblogging site for failing to update the policy before November’s presidential election, despite repeated warnings by the advocacy groups about violent and dehumanizing speech. Hatch also said Twitter has declined to provide transparency into how its content moderators are trained and the efficacy of its artificial intelligence in identifying content that is responsible for the policy violation.

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