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Discord bans misgendering and deadnaming in hateful conduct policy update

Photo: Discord
Photo: Discord

Discord bans misgendering and deadnaming in its hateful conduct policy update. Using the term “deadnaming” or “misgendering” transgender individuals is now expressly prohibited on Discord, as stated in the revised guideline regarding harmful conduct on the site.

Hate speech is “any expression that degrades, vilifies, or dehumanizes individuals, incites intense feelings of hostility towards defined groups, or promotes harm based on protected characteristics,” according to the policy that governs hateful conduct on Discord.

Users are barred from regularly using slurs to denigrate people or groups, including deadnaming or misgendering a transgender person, according to the extended policy, which was established internally in 2022 and made public this month as part of an annual review to provide further openness. The decision to make the policy public was taken to provide more information.

“As part of our ongoing efforts to ensure that Discord continues to be a safe and fun place for people to hang out with friends, we continually evaluate potential harms and update our policies,” a spokesman for Discord said in an interview with TechCrunch. We frequently collaborate with organizations and subject matter experts to guarantee that our rules appropriately incorporate a comprehensive perspective of how these problems express themselves throughout the internet and in society.

In addition, the new policy explanation asked users to report content that violated the policy, and it advised that users remove themselves from areas where other users were participating in behavior that was considered hostile. Under the policy, it is also prohibited to call for the segregation of protected groups or to discriminate against them, to spread unfounded claims about protected groups to incite fear or hostility, and to perpetuate negative stereotypes about protected groups through “derogatory generalizations and insulting misrepresentations.” Refusing to acknowledge well-documented “mass human atrocities” or “casting doubt on their occurrence” is another violation of the legislation.

Very few social media networks expressly address and prohibit misgendering and deadnaming, but Discord is one such platform. Post has also recently updated its content rules, which now state that “denial of an individual’s gender identity or sexual orientation or promotion of conversion therapy or related programs that attempt to change a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity are not allowed and will be considered a violation of the Content Rules.” This new rule was implemented in response to the fact that Post has recently added a new provision to its content rules.

GLAAD, an organization that advocates for LGBTQ rights, observed that in recent years, the practice of misgendering and deadnaming other users on social media has grown increasingly common. This behavior is frequently used to harass and insult transgender people. In response to the modification made to Discord, GLAAD published a blog post in which they asked all social media sites to implement comparable standards to safeguard trans users. By pointing out that far-right, transphobic personalities are not accidentally referring to trans persons by using the wrong pronouns or by mistake using their old names, the group emphasized that purposeful misgendering and deadnaming is “hate speech pure and simple” when it occurs on the internet.

In its 2023 Social Media Safety Index report, published in July, GLAAD had previously advocated for platforms to prohibit targeted misgendering and deadnaming. Based on the findings of the analysis, it was discovered that platforms are “largely failing” to prevent hate speech and discrimination against LGBTQ users and that they are also failing to enforce their policies against hostile behavior appropriately.

In April of this year, X (which was once known as Twitter) secretly revoked its policy that prohibited misgendering and deadnaming transgender people. This report came after the regulation was abolished. As one of the first websites to implement the policy, Twitter was the first to prohibit using the terms “deadnaming” and “misgendering” as harassment in 2018. As a result of the removal, transphobic language on the site has become even more comfortable.

“In our current landscape, where anti-trans online rhetoric and attacks are so prevalent, vicious, and harmful—and where we also see such an offline onslaught targeting the trans community,” it was written in a blog post by GLAAD. “This recommendation remains an especially high priority in our current landscape.”

With the release of its upgrade, Discord included a robust warning system to enforce its prohibitions against hate speech efficiently. Users that breach the policies of the platform will get a direct message from Discord that includes information about the exact regulation that they broke, information about the material that violated the policy, actions that Discord may take against the user, and a link to an explanation of the Community Guidelines for Discord.

According to the explanation provided by the business on the warning system, Discord does not create a predetermined number of chances before users are permanently suspended; instead, the firm emphasizes that each violation is evaluated differently based on the “severity of harm.” Users can check the status of their account in their settings. Those are considered “all good” if they have not committed any active violations. However, those who have committed one current violation will have restricted access to specific facilities. Those are considered “at risk” if they have committed one or more active violations, and those who have committed “severe or repeated” infractions are subject to permanent suspension. Most infractions lapse after ninety days; however, more severe crimes may remain on users’ account records for extended periods.

Users on servers that broke the platform’s regulations will receive a warning from Discord. They will also receive a warning if they engage with content that violates the standards but do not upload it themselves. It is impossible to utilize warnings to determine a user’s account standing.

Discord’s warning system states, “We want our users to learn our rules and stay on the platform whenever possible.” “We have designed the system to show users what they did wrong, provide more educational resources about our rules, and place appropriate restrictions on accounts so that users of Discord have the opportunity to make things right,” said the developer.

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