Twitter has fumbled yet again. Over the weekend, the platform temporarily locked a New York Times account for violating its rule against hateful conduct, but the tweet in question, a report on Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s apology over the treatment of native people in Newfoundland and Labrador, was rather unoffending — further muddying what will and won’t get you suspended by the platform. The account was fully restored about a day later and Twitter has said that the suspension was the result of human error.
Twitter has attempted to clarify what warrants a suspension, a ban or a verification over the past few months, but when it releases new regulations or guidelines, it’s often in response to some very public gaffe on its part. The site just launched a new set of policies geared towards hateful and violent speech, but only after the spread of the #WomenBoycottTwitter campaign sparked by the platform’s suspension of Rose McGowan’s account after she tweeted about Harvey Weinstein’s pattern of sexual assault. Twitter also recently updated its list of what will cause it to revoke a verified status, but that list only came after a major backlash in response to its verification of a white supremacist.
Once it restored the NYT’s @nytimesworld account, Twitter told the publication, “After reviewing the account, it appears that one of our agents made an error. We have flagged this issue so that similar mistakes are not made going forward.” It also apologized for any inconvenience the suspension caused.