Twitter Betrays Minority Communities Vowing To Protect Religious Extremists Instead
Last September, I was one of the hundreds of thousands of Twitter users who took the survey asking how the platform could better protect its users from targeted attacks and “dehumanizing language.” The goal was to expand upon its already poorly enforced Hateful Conduct Policy which, in theory, was intended to curb racist, xenophobic, anti-LGBT attacks and other such discriminatory behavior but in practice isn’t measurable.
The survey allowed users to express their experiences and concerns with the company and the platform. This seemingly came on the heels of Twitter handing out verifications to high profile alt-right, white supremacists before deciding that was a terrible idea given the fact that verified accounts are given far more widespread circulation and pushed to the top of searches. Thankfully, they rescinded the coveted blue checkmarks from those accounts and shortly afterward they suspended their verification process indefinitely.
The expansion of Twitter’s policy on hate speech and aggressive misconduct would have been a welcome change for those who are most vulnerable- specifically women of color. A study by Amnesty International showed that Black women were 84 percent more likely than White women to be disproportionately targeted.
Moreover, another study of 5000 people found that 23 percent of LGB identifying users between 18 and 24 were targeted online during a one month observation, with this number rising to 34 percent when it came to Transgender folks.
Anti-semitism has become far more prolific on social media since Donald Trump took office in 2016. Twitter saw over 4.2 million anti-semitic tweets from individual accounts between 2017 and 2018 according to a study by the Anti Defamation League. This only escalated as The President ramped up his rhetoric on prominent figures like philanthropist George Soros.