Twitter has prohibited misgendering and deadnaming on its platform in an effort to curtail anti-trans abuse.
These offensive techniques—which involve using the wrong gender to refer to a trans person or a trans person’s old name—are often used on Twitter to insult and erase trans people’s identities and right to exist.
“We recognise that if people experience abuse on Twitter, it can jeopardise their ability to express themselves”
— Twitter’s new terms of service
In Twitter’s updated terms of service, the company states: “We prohibit targeting individuals with repeated slurs, tropes or other content that intends to dehumanise, degrade or reinforce negative or harmful stereotypes about a protected category.
“This includes targeted misgendering or deadnaming of transgender individuals.”
The move, which was made in late October but only broadly noticed on the platform on Friday (November 23), also involved adding a section in which Twitter acknowledges that LGBT+ people suffer abuse online more than most.
“We recognise that if people experience abuse on Twitter, it can jeopardise their ability to express themselves,” the paragraph begins.
“Research has shown that some groups of people are disproportionately targeted with abuse online.
“This includes; women, people of colour, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, asexual individuals, marginalised and historically underrepresented communities,” it continues.
“For those who identity [sic] with multiple underrepresented groups, abuse may be more common, more severe in nature and have a higher impact on those targeted.”
The social media giant has also created a new section of its terms of service, called “Consequences,” in which explains the actions it is pledging to take against offenders.
Twitter has promised to permanently suspend any account which either breaks the rules too many times or is “engaging primarily in abusive behaviour.”
Users who are “deemed to have shared a violent threat” will also be banned from the platform, the company has stated.
Pro-trans users welcome ban on misgendering and deadnaming
Many Twitter users have praised the change, which they hope will lead to more abusive accounts being suspended or banned completely.
One tweeted: “nb deadnaming and misgendering are now prohibited on Twitter. which is very good news!”
Another said: “Excellent news everyone: Twitter has finally updated their TOS such that misgendering/deadnaming a trans person is against the site’s rules. Happy hunting.”
“I was skeptical (because it’s twitter) but yeah, the TOS is pretty clear. Repeated misgendering and/or deadnaming is specifically listed. Excellent,” tweeted yet another fan of the policy shift.
However, there was also hesitancy from many who doubted that the changes in Twitter’s terms of service would be enforced when abusive users were reported.
One such user wrote: “Good start. We’ll have to see if reporting is meaningful or the policy enforced.”
Another tweeted: “like they’ll ever enforce it seriously.”
And a different user commented: “apparently twitter updated its rules to specify that targeted deadnaming and misgendering of trans people isnt allowed but im calling it now that they wont enforce this rule.”