Twitter has introduced new rules to crack down on hate speech against religious groups. Under the changes, the social network said it would delete offensive posts that compare communities to "maggots" or "rats."
Twitter on Tuesday expanded its hate speech rules to cover "dehumanizing language" aimed at religious groups.
In a blog post, the social media platform said the update was based on feedback from thousands of users, adding that it may also roll out similar policies for posts focused on race, gender or sexual orientation at a later date.
Twitter, like Facebook and YouTube, has been heavily criticized for failing to police offensive and hate-fueled content on its service.
Twitter already bans hate speech targeting individual religious figures, but the latest change applies specifically to offensive language directed at entire religious groups.
On its blog, the company listed several examples of posts that would now be deleted, including tweets comparing religious communities to maggots, subhumans, rats, viruses or filthy animals.
Activists want more action
Rights groups said the change doesn't go far enough, and called on Twitter to expand its hate speech rules to all groups, religious or otherwise.
Rashad Robinson, the president of online racial justice group Color of Change, said: "Twitter's failure to ban all forms of dehumanization immediately casts doubt on the company's commitment to fully stopping hate on the platform."
Facebook has a similar policy banning dehumanizing speech and attacks on individuals or groups who share characteristics such as race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, or religious affiliation.
YouTube also prohibits content that promotes violence or hatred against individuals or groups based on categories such as age, disability and race.
nm/se (AP, dpa)