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Sharing harmful links could get people banned from Twitter

Twitter will now examine links its users share, which could result in a permanent suspension for users who try to promote extreme content.

The social media site will display a warning notice when a link is clicked or could block the link completely.

Previously, users could get around Twitter’s rules by posting links to violating content rather than tweeting it directly.

Links which direct users to malware or which attempts to steal personal information, will be limited, as will spam websites.

The company is will also limit the spread of content that violates its rules. This includes terrorism, child pornography, or links to illegal substances.

This will apply to Twitter’s hateful conduct rules as well, which limits content that promotes violence against protected classes such as race, sexual orientation, gender, or religion.

Twitter’s position as a fact-checker and a so-called “arbiter of truth” has been recently controversial. The company says that it will be working with third-party vendors who specialise in countering spam, trusted partners, and reported tweets.

The consistency by which Twitter will enforce this rule could differ from user to user, as Twitter says that it may “treat newsworthy links shared by journalists differently than if the link were shared by someone else”.

The ‘newsworthiness’ of content on Twitter has also been contentious, especially with regards to Donald Trump’s presence on the platform.

An account which copied the messages of the president was suspended in three days for ‘glorifying violence’.

People violating Twitter’s policy could be subject to a range of enforcement options, the company says. This could range from a standard suspension, as Twitter enforced on Donald Trump Jr. for posting content that suggested there was a cure for the coronavirus, to more serious bans.

“In some cases, the sharing of a link will also result in account suspension due to a zero-tolerance policy (for instance, if a link is shared to child sexual exploitation content)”, the company says. Users banned for such reasons will be removed from the platform and banned from making new accounts.

The new policy will take effect on 30 July.

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