Twitter last month updated its rules regarding abuse and hateful conduct as well as violence and physical harm. The changes, however, didn't go into effect until today. Here's what you can expect moving forward.

Specific threats of violence or wishing for serious harm, disease or death to an individual has been a violation of Twitter's policy for a while now. Under the expanded rules crafted using Twitter's policy development process, more types of "related content" are being added to the mix including:

  • Accounts that affiliate with organizations that use or promote violence against civilians to further their causes. Groups included in this policy will be those that identify as such or engage in activity --- both on and off the platform --- that promotes violence. This policy does not apply to military or government entities and we will consider exceptions for groups that are currently engaging in (or have engaged in) peaceful resolution.
  • Content that glorifies violence or the perpetrators of a violent act. This includes celebrating any violent act in a manner that may inspire others to replicate it or any violence where people were targeted because of their membership in a protected group. We will require offending Tweets to be removed and repeated violations will result in permanent suspension.

Excluding military and government entities from the above mentioned changes is an interesting exception that shouldn't be glossed over.

Twitter will also be taking action against accounts that abuse or threaten others indirectly through their profile information. Usernames, display names or profile bios that include a violent threat or multiple slurs, epithets, racist or sexist tropes, incite fear or "reduces someone to less than human" will be permanently suspended, Twitter says.

Furthermore, Twitter will now categorize hateful imagery - logos, symbols or images whose purpose is to promote hostility and malice against others based on their race, religion, disability, sexual orientation or ethnicity / national origin - as sensitive media under its media policy. For such content that appears in a header or profile image, Twitter will now accept profile-level reports and require account owners to remove violating media.

Twitter concedes that in its effort to be more aggressive in enforcing the revised rules, they may make some mistakes but are working on a robust appeals process. The microblogging platform additionally plans to evaluate and iterate on the changes over the coming days and weeks, promising to update users on the progress along the way.