Twitter says it's banning language that dehumanizes religious groups

Twitter headquarters in San Francisco.
(Image credit: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Twitter on Tuesday said it's updating its hateful conduct policies to ban language that dehumanizes religious groups.

The social media company in a blog post said that the decision to update its rules to forbid "language that dehumanizes others on the basis of religion" comes after "months of conversations." Twitter had previously said it would ban content "that dehumanizes others based on their membership in an identifiable group," The Verge reports, but on Tuesday said it heard feedback that it needed a narrower focus.

Twitter provides several examples in its announcement of tweets that would now be removed, such as one that reads, "[Religious group] are viruses. They are making this country sick." Other example tweets include posts calling specific religious groups "rats" or "filthy animals."

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According to this announcement, any tweets that violate this rule that were posted before today would not lead to a user's account being suspended, but the tweets would have to be deleted. CNN's Oliver Darcy noted that this new rule would affect, for example, Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan. Twitter has faced criticism for not deleting anti-Semitic content from Farrakhan's account, including one tweet from October 2018 comparing Jewish people to termites, The Hill reports. A Twitter spokesperson confirmed to Darcy that because of the new rule, Farrakhan's October tweet will have to be removed before he can post again.

Twitter says there are "additional factors we need to better understand" before it can expand its rule to apply to other groups.

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Brendan Morrow

Brendan is a staff writer at The Week. A graduate of Hofstra University with a degree in journalism, he also writes about horror films for Bloody Disgusting and has previously contributed to The Cheat Sheet, Heavy, WhatCulture, and more. He lives in New York City surrounded by Star Wars posters.