Twitter has quietly erased a policy against the "targeted misgendering or deadnaming of transgender individuals," raising concerns that the Elon Musk-owned platform may become less safe for marginalized groups.
In 2018, Twitter had enacted the policy against deadnaming, or using a transgender person's name before they transitioned, as well as purposefully using the wrong gender for someone as a form of harassment.
On Monday, Twitter also said it will only put warning labels on some tweets that are "potentially" in violation of its rules against hateful conduct. Previously, the tweets were removed. Within this policy update, it appears that Twitter deleted the line against deadnaming from its rules.
LGBTQ+ groups said the rollback of the policy could make the platform less safe for marginalized people, and demonstrates that the service is "out of step" with other major social media networks.
"Twitter's decision to covertly roll back its longtime policy is the latest example of just how unsafe the company is for users and advertisers alike," said Sarah Kate Ellis, the president and CEO of the advocacy group GLAAD, in a statement.
Ellis noted that TikTok, Pinterest and Meta all maintain policies to protect transgender users at a time when anti-transgender rhetoric is on the rise.
Twitter responded to a request for comment from CBS MoneyWatch with a poop emoji.
Leaving for safety
Some Twitter users commented that they plan to leave the platform in response to the policy change. "This will be my last tweet and I will no longer be on Twitter for the sake of my own safety," one Twitter user wrote on Wednesday.
According to GLAAD, Twitter's Hateful Content Policy had earlier stated, "We prohibit targeting others with repeated slurs, tropes or other content that intends to dehumanize, degrade or reinforce negative or harmful stereotypes about a protected category. This includes targeted misgendering or deadnaming of transgender individuals."
But with the latest update, that last sentence has been removed.
Billionaire Musk, who bought Twitter last year, has a transgender child. Vivian Jenna Wilson last year legally, taking on the last name of her mother, a day after turning 18.
"I no longer live with or wish to be related to my biological father in any way, shape or form," Wilson stated in court papers at the time.
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