Twitter Says It Will Go Easier On Users Who Break Minor Rules

Twitter says that it will dole out "less severe actions" against accounts that break its rules, but not in a way that it considers a severe violation. That's according to a new tweet thread published by the Twitter Safety account, which points back to a previous tweet that had been published in mid-December 2022. In that latter tweet, the same Twitter Safety account had said that it was reinstating some permanently banned accounts that were given the ban hammer under "several policies where permanent suspension was a disproportionate action" for the rules that were broken.

The news comes amid some controversy over the way Twitter 2.0 is handling accounts under Elon Musk's leadership, including allowing Donald Trump to return based on a simple poll, as well as moving to reinstate tens of thousands of accounts following a different poll. There does appear to be some level of standards at play despite Musk's early "free speech" proclamations — Alex Jones will stay banned, for example, while Ye was allowed back briefly before being suspended again over racist content. More concerning was the return of some accounts belonging to neo-nazis (via Rolling Stone), including white supremacist website founder Andrew Anglin, who remains active on the platform at the time of writing.

Severe and repeat violators will still face harsh penalties

According to Twitter Safety, accounts that break certain rules will face "less severe actions" in the form of requiring the user to delete a rule-breaking tweet before they can resume using the account — or, in other cases, demoting that tweet so that it doesn't reach many people. Those are things that existed pre-Musk, but it appears they'll be used in a greater number of instances where, under previous policies, the accounts would be suspended.

Accounts that engage in "Severe violations" or "ongoing, repeat violations" will still face suspension, however, under the new policies. In a separate tweet, Twitter revealed what it considers a severe violation, including violating privacy rules, threatening (or inciting) violence, promoting or participating in things that are illegal, targeted harassment, and actions related to spam and platform manipulation.

Of note, Twitter says that all users will be able to appeal if their account was suspended under the old policies; when evaluated, the decision to uphold the suspension or reinstate the account will be based on the new policies, according to Twitter. The appeal process will go live on February 1, though it's unclear how long it may take Twitter's much smaller teams to review the appeals and issue decisions.