X is becoming Twitter again because it has to

  • X has reinstated a rule against deadnaming and misgendering that it quietly removed in 2023.
  • The rule states that the person who is deadnamed or misgendered must report the violation before action is taken.
  • This revert is the latest move by X to reimplement rules it scrapped from when the platform was known as Twitter.

While many considered Twitter to be something of a hellscape even before Elon Musk purchased the platform, it was at least a hellscape that had protections. No sooner had Musk entered the building with his bathroom ware than changes were being made.

Now, some of those changes are being walked back because objectively, removing them was a bad idea.

The most recent of these reversions is to the rules around abuse and harassment, specifically regarding dead-naming. Dead-naming is a malicious act in which a harasser or generally bad human being uses a transitioned person’s old name.

The rules around this were quietly removed in April 2023 but they we quietly readded in January as spotted by Ars Technica.

“We will reduce the visibility of posts that purposefully use different pronouns to address someone other than what that person uses for themselves, or that use a previous name that someone no longer goes by as part of their transition,” the rules read.

However, posts that misgender or deadname an individual will only have their visibility limited if the target of that harassment contacts X.

“Given the complexity of determining whether such a violation has occurred, we must always hear from the target to determine if a violation has occurred,” the rules continue.

The reasoning for this is that X believes that in isolation, innocent posts could look harmful but may just be friends ribbing each other.

“Anyone can report violations of this policy using our dedicated reporting flow. However, we sometimes need to hear directly from the person being targeted to ensure that we have the information needed prior to taking any enforcement action,” X elaborated.

The response to the reinstatement of the misgendering and deadnaming rule has sparked the ire of some on X.

“Elon, you traitor! How dare you bring back Twitter 1.0 ‘misgendering’ and ‘deadnaming’ rules? How dare you force us to lie. Who cares if I call a man a man and a man ‘he’ even 1000 times? How dare you do this? And we still need an answer regarding why you made @lindayaX [Linda Yaccarino] CEO,” one angry Xer posted.

Operator of the far-right account LibsOfTikTok, Chaya Raichik put the rule to the test by misgendering several transitioned celebrities. Elon Musk responded to this by saying “You’re not going to get suspended”.

While that interaction casts doubt on how well the rule will be enforced, the reinstatement of the rule is part of a growing trend at X.

That trend sees X readopting policies and more that Musk discarded over the last year. Before this update was spotted, X announced it was employing a 100-person-strong “Trust and Safety center of excellence” in January. The Twitter Trust and Safety team was among the first Musk dissolved.

This is evidence that X is just reverting back to the measures Twitter used because unfortunately for Musk, those are the safety measures that work for a social media platform that wants to be profitable. As much as the billionaire likes to rail against the “woke” boogieman, adopting the polar opposite of that is only going to get your platform banned from app stores and potentially hosting providers.

There is even an example of what happens when you allow any speech on a platform. Launched in 2018, Parler quickly became a destination for far-right extremists. The platform was described as wild-west with minimal to no content moderation. By 2021 after the US Capitol was stormed, Apple, Google and AWS removed Parler from their respective platforms because it allowed any content to be shared including death threats. While Parler did attempt to moderate its platform, it was ultimately sold and then shuttered by the buyer in 2023.

As carefree as Musk may appear, the man spent $44 billion to acquire Twitter and we’re sure he wants to recoup at least some of that money. Expect more Twitter rules and features to return as a result.


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