Twitter backs down from its policies against transphobic speech, and more
Thank you for subscribing! It means a lot to me that you've followed me to this new medium. I'm excited to experiment with longer-form writing and to escape the restrictions imposed by Twitter.
I'm not sure how much longer I will keep my Twitter account, but I'm working to archive my more popular and oft-cited documentary threads here.
For my first issue, I spoke to several Twitter employees (who shall remain anonymous) about their concerns regarding Elon Musk's takeover of the company, and what that means for Twitter's industry-leading policies regarding hate speech.
Has Twitter stopped enforcing the "Babylon Bee" rule?
Multiple anonymous sources inside Twitter have expressed concern that, despite CEO Parag Agrawal's assurances to the contrary, Twitter is softening or suspending enforcement of certain policies, at least in the United States, in order to avoid further controversy while the company finalizes its sale to Elon Musk later this year.
In 2018, Twitter updated its Harmful Conduct policies to include rules prohibiting the deliberate misgendering and deadnaming of transgender individuals.
Earlier this month, Twitter suspended the Babylon Bee, a right-wing humor website, after they misgendered Admiral Rachel Levine for laughs. FOX News personality Tucker Carlson was also temporarily suspended from Twitter for promoting the Babylon Bee's joke.
Following these high-profile suspensions, it appears that Twitter has quietly stopped enforcing the "Babylon Bee" rule, however. Last week, I compiled a list of dozens of tweets by prominent blue-check accounts including Marjorie Taylor Greene, Lauren Boebert, and The Federalist which clearly violate Twitter's policies prohibiting misgendering of transgender individuals.
These transphobic tweets have been reported to Twitter's abuse team by dozens of users. With only four exceptions, Twitter responded consistently to multiple concerned users that the reported tweets did not violate their policies.
My sources inside Twitter say that, in jurisdictions like the UK and European Union which have laws on the books prohibiting certain kinds of hate speech, Twitter is unlikely to relax its rules to the same degree.
Ideas for my next issue?
In my next issue, I will explore the ramifications of allowing "all legal speech" on a worldwide platform like Twitter -- an idea floated recently by several prominent tech libertarians. Stay tuned! You may be surprised.