Twitter has expanded its policy against hate speech to cover language that “dehumanizes people” based on race and nationality — the latest step to interdict what social platforms see as a rising problem both on and offline.

The popular social platform announced the change on Wednesday. It’s Twitter’s most recent effort to block hateful content that civil and human rights advocates have denounced for years. The platform last modified its hate speech policy nine months ago.

“Today, we are further expanding our hateful conduct policy to prohibit language that dehumanizes people on the basis of race, ethnicity or national origin,” Twitter wrote in a blog post.

“We will also continue to surface potentially violative content through proactive detection and automation. If an account repeatedly breaks the Twitter rules, we may temporarily lock or suspend the account.”

Twitter updated its policy in July 2019 to bar content that dehumanizes on the basis of religion or caste, and again in March to ban language that dehumanizes based on age, disability or disease.

“We create our rules to keep people safe on Twitter, and they continuously evolve to reflect the realities of the world we operate within,” the blog post added. “Our primary focus is on addressing the risks of offline harm, and research shows that dehumanizing language increases that risk.

“With each update to this policy, we’ve sought to expand our understanding of cultural nuances and ensure we are able to enforce our rules consistently. We’ve benefited from feedback from various communities and cultures who use Twitter around the globe.”

Facebook said two months ago it would begin targeting groups that spread misinformation and violate rules against hate speech, “organized” hate and violence and criminal activity. The company said at the time it had removed about about 12 million postings in the previous year that violated the rules.
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