Twitter has taken steps to simply its inconsistently applied rules and regulations. The social network has reduced the size of its rulebook from 2500 words to just 600, and each one is now given a top-line description in tweet length: 280 characters or fewer.
“Rules should be easy to understand,” the official Twitter Safety account tweeted. “We heard you, ours weren’t. We updated, reordered, and shortened them, so you can know what’s not allowed on Twitter.”
The account then tweeted the new rules one at a time, with links to longer help pages for each one.
The new rules come under three categories: safety, privacy and authenticity. “Everyone who uses Twitter should be able to easily understand what is and is not allowed on the service,” wrote Twitter’s vice president of Trust and Safety, Del Harvey, in a blog post.
“As part of our continued push towards more transparency across every aspect of Twitter, we’re working to make sure every rule has its own help page with more detailed information and relevant resources, with abuse and harassment, hateful conduct, suicide or self-harm, and copyright being next on our list to update,” she added.
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Simplifying rules is one thing: enforcing them fairly and consistently is quite another, and that’s where the various shades of grey become truly problematic. Twitter clearly recognises this on some level, with the page on hateful conduct containing several paragraphs of caveats as to why something may not be tackled: “Some Tweets may appear to be hateful when viewed in isolation, but may not be when viewed in the context of a larger conversation,” the page explains.
While it’s certainly helpful for rules to be clear and straightforward, the most successful Twitter trolls have stayed on the site by firmly placing themselves within that grey area where intent is just ambiguous enough to get by without sanctions. These new rules won’t change that, and Twitter clearly accepts this, adding that “we may need to change these Rules from time to time in order to support our goal of promoting a healthy public conversation.”
What do you think of Twitter’s new rules? Let us know with a tweet: @TrustedReviews.