The internet may currently be rife with opinions left and right, but if it’s hateful in any way, Twitter isn’t having it.
A recent announcement from the social network reflects its hard-line stance against hate speech and various forms of discrimination and its recent decision to expand its rules regarding what may or may not be posted online.
According to Twitter Inc.’s latest transparency report released on Wednesday, July 14th, the platform took action against over 1,126,990 accounts with measures as light as simple deletion of a post to the closure of accounts and a ban on their owners. The report covered measures implemented throughout the second half of 2020.
Between July and December 2020, a record total of 3.8 million tweets were removed from the Twitter feed, mostly due to violations against its recently amended policy against hate speech.
Likewise, legal demands calling for the removal of tweets and other content from certain journalists or news agencies were up by 26% compared to the first half of 2021. The bulk of these legal demands came from Japan, India, Russia, South Korea, and Turkey.
Twitter amended its hate speech policies towards the end of 2020 to maintain its users’ online safety and security. The amendments also aimed to emphasize its stance towards becoming a social media platform that people can use regardless of race, belief, or gender.
One specific amendment was the broadened definition of what would be considered fear-mongering online and the propagation of negative cultural or societal stereotypes. In its transparency report, Twitter also noted a significant increase in the harassment of people in certain racial categories due to the spread of COVID-19.
Twitter’s transparency center noted that impressions on violative tweets numbered less than 0.1% of all global impressions. Moreover, 77% of the tweets removed from the platform received less than 100 impressions before their removal. 17%, on the other hand, got between 100 to 1,000 impressions, while a mere 6% had over a thousand.
The platform is also taking no prisoners where disinformation on COVID-19 is concerned. Twitter challenged 10,320,924 accounts that were noted to have been posting false or unproven material regarding the coronavirus or, worse, spreading malicious materials against the ongoing vaccination drives across the globe or posting fraudulent claims regarding the efficacy and safety of currently available vaccines.
To date, Twitter has already suspended 597 accounts and deleted 3,846 tweets and dubious content to curb potential manipulation of ongoing discussions regarding the pandemic.