Twitter is making excuses for allowing hate speech

The company changed the reason anti-Muslim videos were allowed to stay on its platform.


Twitter sure is having a hard time explaining and enforcing its policies around hate speech. Earlier this week, the company responded to Trump's retweet of violent anti-Muslim propaganda, telling Engadget that some videos may remain up if they are newsworthy or of public interest. Today, Twitter changed that position, saying that, instead, the tweets in question are still on the service because they are permitted based on the company's current media policy.

However, Twitter's policy against hate speech clearly states that "You may not promote violence against or directly attack or threaten other people on the basis of race, ethnicity, national origin, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, religious affiliation, age, disability, or disease. We also do not allow accounts whose primary purpose is inciting harm towards others on the basis of these categories."

The media policy today's tweet references says that "Some forms of graphic violence or adult content may be permitted in Tweets when they are marked as sensitive media. However, you may not include this type of content in live video, or in profile or header images. Additionally, we may sometimes require you to remove media containing excessively graphic violence out of respect for the deceased and their families if we receive a request from their family or an authorized representative."

Twitter's two policies are vague and confusing at best, if not outright conflicting. It's certainly not good for a platform that continues to be ripe for abuse and similar instances occur regularly. We've reached out to the company for further comment and will update this post when we hear back.