Twitter scraps option to report transphobic abuse

X/Twitter owner Elon Musk talking to press.

An update to the reporting system of X, formerly known as Twitter, has removed the ability to flag misgendering and targeted transphobic harassment.

In a post on the social media site, journalist Alejandra Caraballo noted that the system had been overhauled to remove options for specific, anti-trans forms of harassment.

She added that the update had removed the context section, which allowed users to add additional comments relevant to the report.

Screenshots collected from a 2022 guide from tech blog Pocket-lint on how to report a post on Twitter show that options used to include misgendering, the use of slurs, spreading fear about particular identities and encouraging harassment.

The new system generalises these issues into such things as hate, harassment, violent speech, child safety and privacy.

X/Twitter misinformation issue is ‘disastrous’, experts say

The new reporting system comes amid a swath of policy changes that have amended how hate speech is handled on the platform under site owner Elon Musk’s fight against what he describes as censorship.

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Reset Australia reported in September that a feature allowing users to report misinformation was quietly dropped in certain regions of the world.

It described the move as “extremely concerning [and] disastrous” for Australian electoral integrity.

“There now appears to be no channel to report electoral misinformation when discovered on your platform,” the group wrote in an open letter.

While the feature remains available in EU countries, it never has been in the UK.

Of the six largest social media networks, X is the biggest source of disinformation, according to The European Commission.

A study examining more than 6,000 unique social media posts across X, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, TikTok and YouTube, found that X has the largest “ratio of discoverability” of disinformation.

Similarly, hate speech has become an issue under Musk’s leadership, with anti-trans hate speech rocketing almost immediately after his acquisition last year, despite his claim that the opposite is true.

Use of the anti-LGBTQ+ slur “groomer” reportedly increased 1,200 per cent, while notoriously anti-LGBTQ+ accounts saw hate engagement explode.

Musk has threatened to sue various companies that highlighted the rise in hate speech on his platform, describing the criticism as “baseless claims [that] appear calculated to harm Twitter.”

The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) publically condemned Musk’s threats, describing posts he had made about them as an “antisemitic campaign.”

ADL chief executive, Jonathan Greenblatt, said Musk’s post, which used the hashtag “BanTheADL” were “profoundly disturbing“, considering the hashtags were being promoted by controversial figures such as white nationalist Nick Fuentes.

“We saw the campaign manifest in the real world when masked men marched in Florida, brazenly waving flags adorned with swastikas and chanting ‘Ban the ADL’,” Greenblatt said.