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There is only one targeted change to prohibited content, which is a wider reading of what constitutes a “violent threat.” Previously, Twitter would only ban users for “direct, specific threats of violence against others,” but will now also sanction users for “threats of violence against others or promot[ing] violence against others.” In other words, where previously you would get in trouble for saying, “I’m going to drive to David Auerbach’s house and punch him in the face,” you can now also get in trouble for saying, “Someone ought to punch David Auerbach in the face” or “Punching David Auerbach in the face is a great idea.” Fair enough.

(“David Auerbach’s face makes me puke,” however, is still very much OK.) Reported violations will not always result in total account suspension, however.

Lena Dunham quit in January, tired of threats and name-calling. While Twitter should add an “Are you sure you want to do this?

” confirmation to that feature’s opt-in, it’s clear from Tuesday’s announcement that Twitter’s evolving treatment of abusive content requires a careful reading.

Twitter is clearly loath to restrict its users’ speech, which may not be enough for those clamoring for a wide-scale crackdown on bullies and trolls, but will reassure those fearful that Twitter could overly police its users.Of the trolls, Costolo wrote, “We’re going to start kicking these people off right and left and making sure that when they issue their ridiculous attacks, nobody hears them.” But the changes announced Tuesday by the director of product development, Shreyas Doshi, aren’t nearly so aggressive.


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