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Twitter policy no longer explicitly bans some anti-transgender tweets

In the past, Twitter explicitly banned targeted misgendering or deadnaming. Its new policy no longer explicitly bans these tweets.
A sign at Twitter headquarters in San Francisco.
Posted at 8:34 AM, Apr 19, 2023

Advocates for the LGBTQ community noticed that Twitter recently changed its harmful content policy, noting that a sentence protecting transgender people is now missing. 

“We prohibit targeting others with repeated slurs, tropes or other content that intends to dehumanize, degrade or reinforce negative or harmful stereotypes about a protected category. This includes targeted misgendering or deadnaming of transgender individuals,” according to an archive of the previous policy.

GLAAD, an organization that advocates for LGBTQ rights, noticed the last sentence prohibiting misgendering or deadnaming of transgender people is now missing. 

GLAAD condemned Twitter’s changes. Organization president Sarah Kate Ellis said targeted misgendering and deadnaming are considered forms of hate speech. 

PBS logo on a device.

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“Twitter’s decision to covertly roll back its longtime policy is the latest example of just how unsafe the company is for users and advertisers alike,” Ellis said. “This decision to roll back LGBTQ safety pulls Twitter even more out of step with TikTok, Pinterest, and Meta, which all maintain similar policies to protect their transgender users at a time when anti-transgender rhetoric online is leading to real world discrimination and violence.”

Twitter responded to Scripps News’ request for comment with a poop emoji. Twitter acknowledged earlier this week that it has changed its policy, saying it is adding “more transparency to the enforcement actions” it takes on tweets that violate its policy. 

“As a first step, soon you’ll start to see labels on some Tweets identified as potentially violating our rules around Hateful Conduct letting you know that we’ve limited their visibility,” Twitter said. “These actions will be taken at a tweet level only and will not affect a user’s account. Restricting the reach of Tweets helps reduce binary ‘leave up versus take down’ content moderation decisions and supports our freedom of speech vs freedom of reach approach.”

Twitter said it would remove illegal content and suspend “bad actors” from the platform.