Twitter Announces ‘Trust & Safety Council’

Building on its move just over a month ago to “clarify” its view of what actions are “abusive” or “hateful,” Twitter this week announced a new “Trust & Safety Council” that it will consult for its platform policies. 

In a post on its website, Twitter’s Head of Global Policy Outreach, Patricia Cartes, cited the difficulty in trying “to strike the right balance between fighting abuse and speaking truth to power.”  She called for a multilayered approach of direct user help and aid from “the community of experts working for safety and free expression.”  Nick Pickles, Twitter’s public policy manager in the United Kingdom, also penned an article highlighting the new safety council and likened the social media giant to a global town square where a challenge is “to ensure that voices of respect are not silenced, either by the digital mob or the encroachment of the state.”

Some are wary of the new council, however.  For example, Mark Hemingway, Senior Writer for The Weekly Standard, believes it indicates “Twitter is going to double down on their desire to appease progressive montagnards at the expense of having a platform that actually facilitates robust debate.”  Reacting to Twitter’s assertion that its new advisory group has “diversity of voices,” Mr. Hemingway noted the presence of a number of politically liberal organizations and stated, “It's a fair bet that none of these groups have a particularly expansive notion of free speech.” 

As noted last month, NRB’s John Milton Project for Free Speech will be attentively monitoring Twitter’s actions in light of its newly introduced tools and policies.

By Aaron Mercer, Vice President of Government Relations

Published: February 12, 2016

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