Twitter updates rules to protect disabled users from abuse

Twitter has updated the wording of its rules to make the reporting of hateful comments against disabled people easier following a campaign by a disability charity.

Muscular Dystrophy UK had called for the social media site to change its abusive tweet reporting page, claiming the lack of a clear option to label abusive tweets targeting disability was preventing more reporting of such hate speech.

Twitter has now updated the page to list disability alongside other characteristics such as race, gender and religion.

"It's against our rules to directly attack or threaten someone based on their protected category, including disability," the company's official Safety account said.

"You asked us to clarify this in our reporting flow, and we've updated it to be more specific."

(Screenshot/Twitter)
(Screenshot/Twitter)

The charity said that before the rule change, the only indication that hateful comments based on someone's disability were against Twitter's rules was one mention in the company's 2,000 word rules.

Nic Bungay, director of campaigns, care and information for the charity, said: "It is fantastic news that Twitter has given disabled people this new tool to report any offensive language they may encounter.

"Social media is such a valuable tool for disabled people to take part in everyday conversations, and today's change will help them to ensure they can do so in a safe way."

Muscular Dystrophy UK first raised the issue with the social media giant during a public meeting at London City Hall last year, and in February warned that hate-filled language was keeping many disabled users off social media.

Twitter boss Jack Dorsey said last year that the firm would be more "aggressive" in enforcing its rules as it attempts to clamp down on hateful and extreme content on the platform.

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