Twitter Can’t Figure Out Its Censorship Policy


New York Times editor Jon Weisman announced he was leaving Twitter last week, thanks “to the racists, the anti-Semites, the Bernie Bros who attacked women reporters yesterday.” Enough was enough.

By Naomi LaChance | MOTHERBOARD

Here’s what happened: In response to a rash of hatred on the site, Weisman’s colleague Ari Isaacman Bevacqua (also a Times editor) reported accounts that used anti-Semitic slurs and threats to Twitter support. Twitter replied that it “could not determine a clear violation of the Twitter Rules,” Weisman told me. It didn’t make sense to him.

Weisman isn’t alone. A Human Rights Watch director, a New York Times reporter, and a journalist who wrote about a video game have all reported a similar phenomenon. Still more confirmed the process independently to Motherboard. They each got what they perceived to be a threat on Twitter, reported the tweet to Twitter support, and received a reply that the conduct does not violate Twitter’s rules.

When Twitter made new rules of conduct in January, the company gave itself an impossible task: let 310 million monthly users post freely and without mediation, while also banning harassment, “violent threats (direct or indirect)” and “hateful conduct.” The fault lines are showing.

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