Twitter removes policy against deadnaming transgender people

19 Apr 2023

Image: © natanaelginting/

A recent update has removed a line that prohibited ‘targeted misgendering or deadnaming of transgender individuals’.

Twitter has updated its hateful conduct policy to remove specific protections for its transgender users, as spotted by a media monitoring organisation.

One section of the policy says Twitter prohibits targeting others with repeated slurs, tropes or content that “intends to degrade or reinforce negative or harmful stereotypes about a protected category”.

This section used to contain a line that included the “targeted misgendering or deadnaming of transgender individuals”, but this sentence has been removed in the update.

The update has also removed both references to the word “transgender” that existed on the policy before the change occurred earlier this month, based on archives on the WayBack Machine. Twitter first prohibited misgendering transgender people in 2018.

GLAAD, the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, has spoken against this policy update and said social media sites including TikTok and Pinterest “explicitly prohibit targeted misgendering and deadnaming in their hate and harassment policy”.

The organisation’s president and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis said the change shows “how unsafe the company is for users and advertisers alike”.

“Social media companies committed to maintaining safe environments for LGBTQ people should be working to improve hate speech policies, not deleting long-standing ones,” Ellis said.

Protections still exist based on the updated policy, which prohibits attacking others on the platform based on “race, ethnicity, national origin, caste, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, religious affiliation, age, disability, or serious disease”.

Twitter was called out in November when multiple accounts were restored after being suspended for harassing transgender users, Bloomberg reports. During this period, the owner of the platform, Elon Musk, shared plans to offer “amnesty” to accounts that were suspended before he took over.

Freedom of speech, not reach

Meanwhile, Twitter has revealed a new update to promote free speech on the platform while keeping it “safe from content violating our rules”.

The new solution has been described by Twitter as restricting the reach of tweets that violate policies rather than removing them entirely – or “freedom of speech, not freedom of reach”.

“Restricting the reach of tweets, also known as visibility filtering, is one of our existing enforcement actions that allows us to move beyond the binary ‘leave up versus take down’ approach to content moderation,” Twitter said in a blog post.

This type of measure already exists on the platform, but the new update puts publicly visible labels on tweets that have been identified for potentially violating the platform’s rules.

Tweets that contain these labels will be “less discoverable” and will also not have ads placed adjacent to them.

“This change is designed to result in enforcement actions that are more proportional and transparent for everyone on our platform,” Twitter said. “What remains unchanged is our commitment to keeping Twitter a safe place for conversation.”

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Leigh Mc Gowran is a journalist with Silicon Republic