In an effort to curb a reputation for faulty policy enforcement -- and to "make Twitter a safer place" -- Twitter says it will enforce a fresh set of guidelines to reduce abusive and violent content, beginning today.
The new rules target hate symbols, abuse and unwanted sexual advances. One clause effectively prohibits accounts from associating with hate groups:
You may not make specific threats of violence or wish for the serious physical harm, death, or disease of an individual or group of people. This includes, but is not limited to, threatening or promoting terrorism. You also may not affiliate with organizations that — whether by their own statements or activity both on and off the platform — use or promote violence against civilians to further their causes.
Twitter says any accounts that fail to abide by this rule will be permanently suspended.
So far, Twitter appears to be actively enforcing this clause. The official account of Britain First, a far-right, ultra-nationalist British political organization, has been suspended, as well as the accounts of Britain First leaders Jayda Fransen and Paul Golding. The group's explicitly anti-Muslim videos caused a diplomatic storm when they were re-tweeted by President Trump last month.
Twitter has long been criticized as an avenue for abusive language and behavior online. As the platform rolled out new features such as longer tweets and the ability to "thread" posts, some users were exasperated that the company wasn't also making moves to combat abuse and harassment by its users.