Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Twitter Puts Out the Call For User Input into Policy - But is That the Right Move?

Twitter Puts Out the Call For User Input into Policy - But is That the Right Move?



I'm not convinced that Twitter's moving in exactly the right direction with this.
Twitter has always taken something of an idealistic approach to its product, looking to utilize 'the wisdom of the crowd', which it sees itself as something of a funnel for, in order to ensure that it meets audience demands. But the truth is, it can't, at least not in an all-inclusive way. There are always going to be disagreements about what should happen, what's acceptable - what's considered offensive or concerning to one person will be relatively fine to another, as is the way of the broader human experience.
But Twitter would like to think that we can all work together, and collaborate to make the world - or at least Twitter - a better place.
But can we?
This came to mind when I read about Twitter's latest initiative. As part of the platform's work to create a new policy around dehumanizing speech, Twitter's calling on users to have their say on its proposed dehumanization guidelines, in order to give users a means to contribute.
As explained by Twitter:
"The Twitter Rules apply to everyone who uses Twitter. In the past, we’ve created our rules with a rigorous policy development process; it involves in-depth research and partnership with the members of our Trust and Safety Council and other experts to ensure these policies best serve every person on the service. Now, we’re trying something new by asking everyone for feedback on a policy before it’s part of the Twitter Rules."  
It makes sense - consult the community using the platform to develop more inclusive rules in its governance. But as noted, it may also prove problematic.
In this instance, Twitter has provided what it currently defines as dehumanization, and has given users 30 days to provide feedback via a form which asks: