Twitter launches new rules to curb abusive and hateful behavior - WFMJ.com News weather sports for Youngstown-Warren Ohio

Twitter launches new rules to curb abusive and hateful behavior

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YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio -

Twitter has launched new rules targeting abuse, violence and hate speech in a move that's already drawing some criticism.

The new stricter guidelines in the new policy start today, which were outlined in a blog post earlier this year.

The social media network will now filter through feeds to determine if tweets contain threats of violence or glorify violent acts. In some cases, the tweet may be removed. 

"I think that there's potential here to kind of reclaim social media and make it a more positive environment," said Adam Earnhardt, 21 News Social Media Expert.

Earnhart says criticism of the move is expected as the social media giant has endured criticism for a long time for not being more aggressive in addressing harassment issues.

Twitter will also crack down on harassment and hate-speech, including comments directed at race, religion and sexual orientation. 

"If people feel like this is an attack on their free speech, they may leave Twitter and move elsewhere," Earnhardt said. 

Hateful imagery including logos, symbols, and images will now be considered "sensitive media" and may have to be taken down.

A Youngstown State University professor believes it's possible the changes could become too broad of an approach. 

YSU Africana Studies Director Tiffany M.B. Anderson says images like those exposing slavery in Libya could be removed for containing graphic content.

"If we do not get those images, then we're then also preventing people to be able to protect social justice issues that exist," Anderson said.

Anderson has about 100 students enrolled in her classes each semester, where social media's impact on race is often part of the discussion. 

She worries the new rules will bring unintended consequences.

"The same things that are being used to expose the violence would be prevented as well," she said.

Twitter admits finding balance will take time and it tries to create a safer environment for all users.

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