We within Tell MAMA have repeatedly challenged Twitter on dehumanizing hate speech on their platforms and a release by the Founder of Twitter, has highlighted a possible shift in their policies. Obviously, we have to watch and see what this means and how it will impact accounts that promote the dehumanization of individuals and the subsequent impact on wider communities. This though, is a significant development.
The key to the statement is this:
“Our initial proposal for implementing this, which we were slated to present to staff at the end of the month, focuses on addressing dehumanizing speech – that is, speech that treats or describes others as less than human. We’re focusing on this first for a few reasons, including: academic research has consistently linked dehumanization with violence, (Boris beware after your recent comments about Niqab wearing women being ‘letterboxes’.
“In the history of mass violence, dehumanization consistently precedes acts of violence; dehumanizing hate speech affects not only the direct targets of the speech, but also the wider society that witnesses the speech”.
We will watching developments on this, though this looks like a positive move after the years of advocating that other agencies and Tell MAMA have done on this area.