Twitter has published new rules and has updated policies to address issues such as online abuse, spam, self-harm and other such issues on the social network. Following are some of the updated rules, policies and how it is enforcing them.

Trends: At times, the company may prevent certain content from trending. This includes content that violates rules, such as trends containing obscenity or adult/graphic references, or trends that incite hate on the basis of race, ethnicity, national origin, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, religious affiliation, age, disability, or disease.

Misuse of Twitter badges: 
It will suspend that accounts, which are using unauthorized badges as part of their profile photos, header photos, display names, or in any way that falsely implies affiliation with Twitter or authorization from Twitter to display these badges.

Username squatting: In its set of new rules, Twitter has also taken ‘buy or sell’ of Twitter usernames into consideration. It also said users engaging in ‘username squatting’ may face permanent account suspension.

Username squatting means that a user is creating a number of accounts to prevent others from using those account names, or creating them with the purpose of selling those accounts, or using of third-party content feeds to update and maintain accounts under the names of those third parties. Twitter said it will also remove accounts that are inactive for more than six months.

User Behavior: Twitter will take action against:

-users that indulge into behavior that harasses, intimidates or uses fear to silence another user’s voice.
– Users that make threats of violence or wish for the serious physical harm, death, or disease of an individual or group of people.
-Users sending unwanted sexual content, objectifying them in a sexually explicit manner, or otherwise engaging in sexual misconduct.
-Users promoting or encouraging suicide or self-harm

Suicide or self-harm: When Twitter will receive reports that a person is threatening suicide or self-harm, it said that it will take a number of steps to assist those users, such as reaching out to that person and providing resources such as mental health experts.

Media Policy: Twitter has also updated its media policy, which restricts graphic violence and adult content. The micro-blogging site defines graphic violence as, any form of gory media related to death, serious injury, violence, or surgical procedures; and consider adult content to be any media that is pornographic and/or may be intended to cause sexual arousal.

It said that some forms of graphic violence or adult content may be permitted, unless they flagged or marked as sensitive media. However, users are no more allowed “this type of content in live video, or in profile or header images.”

In case if any tweet is marked for these content, Twitter will ask the user to remove the media. Note that, the company will further update its media policy on November 22, to address hateful imagery.

Privacy: 
Users cannot publish or post other people’s private information without their consent. Twitter considers credit card information; social security or other national identity numbers; private residences, personal home addresses, or other locations that are considered private; non-public, personal phone numbers; and non-public, personal email addresses such as private information.

Fan Accounts: The company said that users are advised not to impersonate individuals, groups, or organizations in a manner that is intended to or does mislead, confuse, or deceive others. “While you may maintain parody, fan, commentary, or newsfeed accounts, you may not do so if the intent of the account is to engage in spamming or abusive behavior,” it said in its blog.

Bots: In terms of security and spamming, Twitter said that any accounts engaging activities leading to phishing, spamming etc may be temporarily locked or subject to permanent suspension, including suspension of account followed and/or unfollowed a large number of accounts in a short time period, particularly by automated means (aggressive following or follower churn).

In case of breach

Failure to adhere Twitter rules may result in Twitter taking one or more of the following actions:

  • requiring users to delete prohibited content before you can again create new posts and interact with other Twitter users;
  • temporarily limiting your ability to create posts or interact with other Twitter users;
  • asking you to verify account ownership with a phone number or email address; or
  • Permanently suspending your account(s). On this, Twitter will email people that their account is suspended, and will explain which policy they violated. Also, if that user will attempt to evade a permanent suspension by creating new accounts, Twitter will suspend new accounts as well.
  • Also, accounts under investigation or which have been detected as sharing content in violation of the Twitter rules may have their account or Tweet visibility limited in various parts of Twitter, including search.

The battle against online harassment

Note that, this update comes as a part of its series to battle against online harassment.  Going forward, the company said that it will launch separate pages for each policy to explain it and elaborate on rationale on its enforcement. Also, it will publish another set of rules on November 22, which will include new policies around violent groups, hateful imagery, and abusive usernames.

Also Read: Twitter revises its online harassment policies, releases timeline of changes