X Reinstates Misgendering Policy That Was Discarded by Elon Musk

Twitter, now known as X, quietly made changes to its abuse and harassment policy last year in April. The policy change no longer deemed deadnaming (referring to transgender individuals by their former names) and misgendering (deliberately using incorrect pronouns or gender identities) as bannable offenses.

This policy, which was originally put into place in 2018, was changed once the company’s owner Elon Musk suggested that his tweets might contravene the longstanding policy. Following Musk’s remarks, the matter seemed to fade into obscurity—until recently, when the platform, now rebranded as X, quietly reintroduced a modified iteration of the previous policy.

The policy has made changes to the section “Use of Prior Names and Pronouns.” X says that this change 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.

According to Jenni Olson, GLAAD’s senior director of social media safety, clearly defined policies that explicitly prohibit deadnaming and misgendering are preferable to ambiguous ones that lack clarity regarding banned behaviors. This clarity facilitates content moderators’ ability to promptly address valid reports of hate speech.

Olson conveyed to Ars that placing the responsibility on users to self-report these attacks imposes a considerable burden on the victims. That’s why GLAAD, which has been offering guidance to all major platforms on LGBTQ+ safety for the past 16 years, does not advocate for self-reporting requirements in a platform’s moderation policies.

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