Elon Musk and X logo
A new hate speech policy has upset X’s right-wing users by discouraging but not outright banning anti-trans harassment. Credit: ALAIN JOCARD/AFP via Getty Images

X, formerly Twitter, has introduced new measures to protect its transgender users, though Elon Musk seems cautious about his right-wing supporters noticing.

Ars Technica discovered that X, under Musk’s ownership, updated its “Abuse and Harassment” guidelines to include protections against misgendering and deadnaming harassment for transgender individuals.

SEE ALSO: On Threads, users say they’re flooded with pro-life and transphobic posts

The new X policy aims to reduce the visibility of posts that intentionally use incorrect pronouns or previous names of transgender individuals, requiring confirmation from the targeted user to determine a violation.

Essentially, these rules discourage targeted harassment by using inaccurate pronouns or former names of transgender users. X is not prohibiting this content but making it less accessible.

While these policies have room for improvement, they represent progress. GLAAD’s Jenni Olson commended X for explicitly discouraging anti-trans harassment through rules on deadnaming and misgendering.

Musk’s Removal of Previous Transgender Protections

The decision to enhance transgender protections is unusual for X under Musk’s leadership.

Previously, when known as Twitter, the platform had rules against deadnaming and misgendering users.

Those rules stated the prohibition of targeted misgendering or deadnaming of transgender individuals.

However, last year, shortly after Musk acquired the platform, these anti-trans harassment rules were quietly removed from Twitter’s policies.

In a further nod to his right-wing audience, Musk labeled the terms “cisgender” and “cis” as slurs and sometimes flagged them on the platform.

Backlash from Right-Wing Users Towards Musk

The new rules on trans user harassment on X are less stringent than the previous guidelines. Offending posts will not be removed or lead to user suspension but rather lowered visibility to fewer users.

Interestingly, the new policy does not explicitly use “misgendering” or “deadnaming” despite addressing their concepts.

The motivation behind X’s change is unclear. Since Musk’s takeover, the platform has faced reduced ad revenue due to hate speech, prompting efforts to enhance user safety for potential advertisers.

Nevertheless, Musk faced backlash from his right-wing followers over the new rules.

For instance, in a test of the rules, anti-LGBTQ account owner Chaya Raichik purposely misgendered transgender figures and expected suspension.

Musk assured that users like Raichik wouldn’t face suspension, leading to complaints about shadowbanning and visibility loss. When questioned on the change necessity, Musk focused on targeted harassment.

Despite Musk’s explanations, right-wing X users continued to protest against the reduced promotion of anti-trans harassment content.

Notably, Musk hinted at revisiting the policy in response to concerns about “censorship.”

Topics LGBTQ Social Media


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *