Twitter on Tuesday announced the formation of a new “Trust and Safety Council,” which will work to develop policies censoring speech on the site. The group will be comprised of more than 40 organizations from 13 regions around the world.
“With hundreds of millions of tweets sent per day, the volume of content on Twitter is massive, which makes it extraordinarily complex to strike the right balance between fighting abuse and speaking truth to power,” Twitter said in a statement.
"It requires a multi-layered approach where each of our 320 million users has a part to play, as do the community of experts working for safety and free expression,” the statement added.
The announcement is the latest by Twitter in a string of moves aimed at improving its public image. Both the Obama administration and members of Congress have been calling on social media sites, and particularly Twitter, to do more to assist in the fight against terrorism. A California woman filed suit against Twitter in December, claiming that propaganda spread by the Islamic State on the site contributed to her husband’s shooting death in Jordan.
The latest move will contribute to combating violent speech on the site, but will likely expand Twitter’s effort to police content far beyond that as well. Groups involved with the council include the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, Feminist Frequency, European Schoolnet, and the International League against Racism and Anti-Semitism.
Twitter said it intended for the group to be comprised of “safety advocates, academics and researchers focused on minors, media literacy, digital citizenship, and efforts around greater compassion and empathy on the Internet,” and that it would provide input on the site’s “safety products, policies, and programs.”
“In developing the Council, we are taking a global and inclusive approach so that we can hear a diversity of voices,” Twitter explained. “As we develop products, policies, and programs, our Trust and Safety Council will help us tap into the expertise and input of organizations at the intersection of these issues more efficiently and quickly.”
Last week, the site also announced that it had silently removed as many as 125,000 accounts belonging to members of the Islamic State since the middle of 2015. And in December, Twitter amended its terms of service to more expressly prohibit abusive language.