Twitter, a US-owned microblogging platform, has expanded its policy on hate speech to include race and ethnicity.

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According to Reuters, the company, in a statement on Wednesday, said the new policy now includes “language that dehumanises people on the basis of race, ethnicity and national origin.”

The development is the latest in the strings of measures taken by the company to address hate speech.

Twitter had in 2019 prohibited speech that dehumanises others on the basis of religion or caste but later updated the rule earlier this year to include age, disability and disease.

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A Twitter spokeswoman said the company had planned from the start to update its hate speech policy categories with time after testing them to ensure they can be enforced.

Color of Change, a civil rights group, which is among coalition of advocacy organisations that have been pushing the tech companies to reduce hate speech online, described the move as “essential concessions” after heated pressure.

In a statement, Arisha Hatch, Color of Change vice-president, called out Twitter for not updating the policy prior to the US presidential election in November when hate speech was on the rise.

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Hatch also accused the micro-blogging platform of not encouraging transparency into its operations, especially how the company’s content moderators are trained as well as the extent to which its artificial intelligence could spot contents that violate the newly introduced policy.

“The jury is still out for a company with a spotty track record of policy implementation and enforcing its rules with far-right extremist users,” she said.

“Void of hard evidence the company will follow through, this announcement will fall into a growing category of too little, too late PR stunt offerings.”

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