The short message service Twitter wants to refrain from blocking user accounts in response to rule violations. In the future, only serious and repeated violations will be punished with this step. In the case of minor violations of the rules, the company will react less severely. Also, effective February 1, a new policy will allow suspended users to appeal their account suspension. This was announced by the company’s “Twitter Safety” department in a series of tweets on Friday.
More leniency and more frequent shadow bans
Twitter promises to be generally more lenient with rule violations and to punish rule violations less severely than before. Only in the case of serious or persistent, repeated violations will accounts be blocked in the future. Participation in illegal content or illegal activities, threatening or inciting violence or harm, invasion of privacy, spam, manipulation of the platform and targeted harassment of users are considered serious.
In the case of minor violations, Twitter will take less stringent measures. This includes the means already used to give a tweet in question less visibility (reduced reach, shadow banning) or to ask the user to reconsider a tweet before publishing it, for example because it contains inappropriate statements. In February there should also be more transparency about such measures on Twitter – the tweets from Twitter Safety do not reveal exactly what is to be introduced. This could mean, for example, notifying a user if their tweet is affected by restricted visibility.
Appeal against account suspension from February 1st
From February 1st, blocked users will be able to appeal their account suspension. The company promises that Twitter will then reassess the underlying violation under the new guidelines and, if necessary, release the account again.
After taking over the company, the new Twitter owner Elon Musk decided to release blocked accounts, sometimes using unusual means: for example, with a survey as to whether the account of former US President Trump should be unblocked again. Shortly after the takeover, Musk indicated that there could be a kind of general amnesty for all blocked Twitter accounts whose users had not broken any laws. On the other hand, Musk apparently arbitrarily blocked accounts that he didn’t like – and revoked some blocks shortly afterwards.
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