Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey admitted on Friday that the company’s minimalist approach to moderation was not working, saying the site is committed to taking a “more aggressive stance in our rules and how to enforce them” in the wake of numerous high-profile public relations nightmares.
“We see voices being silenced on Twitter every day,” Dorsey wrote. “We’ve been working to counteract this for the past 2 years.”
“... Today we saw voices silencing themselves and voices speaking out because we’re *still* not doing enough,” he continued. “We’ve been working intensely over the past few months and focused today on making some critical decisions.”
Dorsey added that the new rules will target “unwanted sexual advances, non-consensual nudity, hate symbols, violent groups, and tweets that glorifies violence” — meaning that perhaps yes, someone is finally going to ban all those swastika-posting Pepes on the site.
Dorsey’s announcement came in the wake of #WomenBoycottTwitter and #WOCAffirmation, campaigns to either boycott the site or take time to highlight the contributions of women of colour respectively. Earlier this week, Twitter made the terrible decision to suspend actress Rose McGowan after she spoke out against serial sexual abuser Harvey Weinstein and told Ben Affleck to “fuck off” for enabling him.
It also follows, in general, years of users begging Twitter to take its rules more seriously as neo-Nazis, white supremacists and their “alt-lite” sidekicks ran rampant on the site, and lax enforcement of rules that led to ridiculous scenarios like assholes posting photoshopped pictures of other users in gas chambers with zero consequences. At times, the far-right crowd has seemed in de facto control of the site, abusing the site’s harassment reporting tools to target their own enemies.
Hopefully, Dorsey’s decision will lead to the site hiring more human moderators and training them to make decisions that improve the overall quality of the site — something that could force other social media giants like Facebook to begin taking moderation seriously too. Of course, white supremacists, misogynist trolls and various members of the “alt” sections of the right will start screaming about censorship, but who cares? The poem doesn’t begin “First they came for the Nazis.”