Claiming that reporting disability-related abuse on Twitter remained cumbersome, a Britain-based charity on Tuesday has urged the microblogging site to do more to help users with disability to report hate speech.
According to the Muscular Dystrophy UK, the lack of a clear option to label abusive tweets based on disability was preventing more reporting of such hate speech, metro.co.uk reported. While options to report abusive tweets based on race, religion, gender or orientation were clearly labelled on the site’s reporting tool, an option for disability hate speech was not available.
“Platforms like Twitter and Facebook should be a valuable tool for disabled people to take part in everyday conversations, but hate-filled language keeps many away,” Lauren West, Manager at Muscular Dystrophy UK, was quoted as telling metro.co.uk.
“It has become so common that it barely raises an eyebrow and this situation has to change. Platforms like Twitter have to give us the tools we need to protect ourselves from hate speech, and adding disability to its Report Tweet function is an easy starting point,” West added.
In November 2016, Twitter had introduced a new tool that helps directly report hateful content, which also includes references to disability. However, there is no direct reference to the disability, the charity said.
“Hiding” the characteristic within the Twitter rules was greatly reducing the chance of disabled people taking action against hateful language when they encountered it. Unless a clearer reference was introduced, disabled people would turn away from the site, West warned. West claimed that during a public meeting in 2017, Twitter had agreed to review this process. However, no visible change has been made since then.
The report quoted Twitter as saying that “it has taken action on ten times the number of abusive accounts as this time last year, and had made more than 30 individual changes to the platform, including on its policies, with the goal of improving safety for all its users.” Twitter is among several internet giants, including Facebook and Google, who have pledged to improve their policing of abusive content on their platforms.