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Three days ago, the Twitter terms of service were updated to give trans individuals who use the social media platform more protection against harassment. The new terms allow posts, comments and users to be reported for misgendering and “deadnaming” trans people.
Given the heading “Repeated and/or non-consensual slurs, epithets, racist and sexist tropes or other content that degrades someone,” the Twitter terms of service now include the following as violations:
We prohibit targeting individuals 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.
“Deadnaming” is the act of referring to a trans person by the wrong name — usually their given name and not the name they’ve chosen for themself.
Regarding the rationale for the new Twitter terms of service, the platform says about hateful conduct, “We recognize that if people experience abuse on Twitter, it can jeopardize their ability to express themselves. Research has shown that some groups of people are disproportionately targeted with abuse online. This includes; women, people of color, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, asexual individuals, marginalized and historically underrepresented communities.”
If you come across a post on Twitter that could be considered misgendering or deadnaming, you can report it by choosing “It’s abusive or harmful,” then “Includes targeted harassment,” then “It directs hate against a protected category.”
While Twitter has recently made strides in removing toxic people and groups from its platform — including the Proud Boys and its founder Gavin McInnes back in August and Alex Jones and Infowars back in September — like Facebook, Twitter has a history of unequal enforcement when it comes to harassment and hate directed at LGBTQ people.