Why it matters: Social media platforms are under fire today for failing to protect their users against hate speech and misinformation, which is why they're all scrambling to do everything from filters to infusing AI that sifts through everything to weed out offensive content. Twitter is now taking what until recently was a broad set of rules and tweaking it so that it can remove some of the ambiguity and hopefully make the platform a safer place for conversation.
Twitter is trying hard to restore the sanity of its platform, and is now changing its policies to tackle hate speech against religious groups. The company has already started enforcing the new rules, and will remove tweets that "include language that dehumanizes others on the basis of religion". Tweets that predate the policy update will also be removed if people report them, but apparently won't result in account suspension. As for newer tweets, they will count towards an account deletion.
The company hinted at the policy update last year, when it proposed a set of rules that would prevent users from comparing groups of people to animals or disgusting things such as excrement. It received 8,000 pieces of feedback from people in over 30 countries who suggested the company's "hateful conduct" policy was too broad to be effective.
As a result, Twitter has been working to expand the rules so that it can protect identifiable groups, but in the latest changes it's not clear how it would protect the religiously unaffiliated. In any case, the company says it's focused on "addressing the risks of offline harm", and has developed a more in-depth training process so that its teams of moderators can make better decisions when reviewing tweets.
To put things in perspective, Twitter is doing a bit better financially as a result of such efforts, and just last month announced it will label rule-breaking tweets from high profile accounts and hide their content by default, requiring user interaction to be displayed. With the recent policy changes in effect, it will be interesting to see if people who are religiously affiliated will find Twitter less toxic as a result.