Twitter is now allowing users to report other account holders for “engaging in abusive or harassing behavior,” one example of which includes “disagreement with my opinion.”
The chilling language was discovered just days after top feminists went before the United Nations and called on the global body to pressure governments to censor content critical of radical feminism.
Twitter’s official page for reporting harassment and abuse gives users a number of options that characterize the nature of the “abuse”.
One of the options is Twitter posts that are, “Offensive, disrespectful or in disagreement with my opinion.”
Users are then invited to provide the user ID of the account holder they are reporting, as well as further evidence of such “abuse”.
Obviously, the notion that merely disagreeing with someone’s opinion constitutes an act of “abuse” or “harassment” is completely anathema to free speech. The mere fact that this option exists should set alarm bells ringing for those who have warned of an authoritarian purge that threatens to silence voices of dissent on social media.
However, Twitter’s characterization of criticism or disagreement as “abuse” will bring a smile to the face of many prominent feminists.
Last week Anita Sarkeesian and Zoe Quinn spoke in favor of censoring Internet content deemed to fit the description of “cyber violence” during a UN Broadband Commission for Digital Development panel discussion.
Examples included telling someone “you suck,” calling them a “liar,” or calling a transgender person by their original name, for example referring to Caitlyn Jenner as ‘Bruce’.
The Washington Post labeled the UN plan a “radical, dangerous vision for the future of the web,” warning that it could force social networks to, “Proactively police every profile and post, and (mandate) that government agencies only “license” those who agree to do so.”
“At one point toward the end of the paper, the U.N. panel concludes that “political and governmental bodies need to use their licensing prerogative” to better protect human and women’s rights, only granting licenses to “those Telecoms and search engines” that “supervise content and its dissemination,” writes Caitlin Dewey.
As we previously reported, Facebook introduced similar language to Twitter at the start of the year which allowed users to flag content which they found annoying, distasteful, or posts which “go against” their religious or political views or make fun of their beliefs.
Earlier this month we also highlighted how Facebook was working with an ex-Stasi informant to implement a new policy in Germany which will see anti-migrant posts censored. Germans also face being fired from their jobs for posting such content and in extreme cases could even lose custody of their children.
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