PRESS RELEASE: Improvements at Twitter


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: The Online Hate Prevention Institute is please to welcome changes announced by Twitter which will help reduce online hate. In the last three years there has been a 4800 per cent increase in racial slurs on Twitter with overall hate rising rapidly across social media in 2015

We were pleased to meet with Twitter at their headquarters in San Francisco just a few weeks ago. In that meeting we discussed a range of technical and policy solutions to help tackle online hate and protect social media users. Yesterday’s announcement is a great step forward, and further safety ideas are in the pipeline at Twitter.

The new measures include requiring users, in some circumstances, to register their mobile number and then delete content that violates the terms of service. This not only removes the hate, but also serves an additional purpose, educating users on what they did wrong to help avoid it happening again.

We also welcome the update to the terms of service and the explicit clarification that Twitter will not tolerate “behavior intended to harass, intimidate, or use fear to silence another user’s voice”. These are the sort of explicit rules which Facebook used to have, and then removed back in May 2009.

We agree with Twitter’s comments that, “keeping users safe requires a comprehensive and balanced approach where everyone plays a role” and we welcome their commitment to “continue to build on these initiatives to empower our users and ensure that Twitter remains a platform for people to express themselves.”  

Dr Andre Oboler, CEO of the Online Hate Prevention Institute explained, “While there is still a gulf between what we regard as hate speech and what Twitter will remove, we look forward to that gap narrowing through the course of 2016. Our relationship with Twitter has grown this past year and we look forward to strengthening it further in the year ahead. If we can help Twitter improve online safety, that’s a win for everyone.”