"If people seem like cockroaches or microbes, it’s okay to get rid of them."
Twitter is working to expand its rules of conduct to ban "dehumanizing" language on the platform.
The social media giant is asking the public for feedback as they finalize a policy that would crack down on language that "treats others as less than human," according to a blog post published on Tuesday.
"Language that makes someone less than human can have repercussions off the service, including normalizing serious violence," the company
The current "hateful conduct" policy bans users from threatening or directly attacking others on the basis of factors such as race, age, ethnicity, sexual orientation or gender. But Twitter wants to go further and "
The announcement cited research by scholar
According to the The Dangerous Speech Project
We’re experimenting with a new way to write and roll-out policy and rules. Let us know what you think… https://t.co/2es2eMayGU— jack (@jack) September 25, 2018
The move plays into concerns that the platform is targeting them and attempting to censor speech protected by the First Amendment.
Unsurprisingly, many saw the announcement as the next step in the company's attack on free speech.
Twitter announced Tuesday that it intends to ban “dehumanizing language” on the social-media platform, and asked for input on the proposal from users— Michael Moates (@freedom_moates) September 25, 2018
WTF is dehumanizing language??? Attack on free speech again!!!
Twitter to ban “dehumanising” language.— Paul Joseph Watson (@PrisonPlanet) September 25, 2018
I’m fully confident this won’t be so vaguely and broadly defined so that it ends up being abused to censor more conservatives.
Only a paranoid conspiracy theorist could believe otherwise.https://t.co/5ydc1zAcNZ
Even liberals, like gossip blogger Perez Hilton took issue with Twitter's move and expressed concern it would get in the way of his right to free expression.
This is bullshit! Twitter has now passed the point of stupidity! This is infringing upon my free speech! If I want to call a certain someone in the White House a cow, I should be able to! https://t.co/xMwlUGJR8O— Perez (@ThePerezHilton) September 26, 2018
As one Twitter user pointed out, the anti-dehumanizing language ban would probably impact President Donald Trump, who has repeatedly referred to rivals as "dogs."
Cool, so when @realDonaldTrump refers to black people as dogs, or speaks about refugees "infesting" etc, that's the kind of dehumanizing language you mean, right?— Seanie Flanagan #FBPE (@seanieflanagan) September 26, 2018
Germania is a staff writer at Pluralist.
You can reach her on Twitter.