Muscular Dystrophy UK is calling for Twitter to make it easier for disabled people to report hateful comments against them, ten months after the platform first said it would review the process.
While abusive tweets based on someone’s race, religion, gender or orientation are readily reportable in a dropdown menu on Twitter, disability is not listed as an option.
The only indication that hateful comments based on someone’s disability are unacceptable on Twitter involve clicking through several extra screens to locate the site’s 2,000-word rules, which include a single mention of it.
Twitter says that a single mention provides enough of a disincentive to abusive comments against disabled people. However, the charity is warning that hiding the characteristic is massively reducing the chance of disabled people taking action against the hateful language that many encounter every day on the platform.
Twitter agreed in April 2017 at a public meeting at London City Hall to look at how disabled people can report abusive comments, but there has been no visible change to the process since then.
Muscular Dystrophy UK’s Trailblazers’ network of young people will today attend a meeting of the Petitions Committee at Parliament to look at the issue of online abuse for disabled people.
Lauren West, Manager of Muscular Dystrophy UK’s Trailblazers network of young disabled people, said: “Platforms like Twitter and Facebook should be a valuable tool for disabled people to take part in everyday conversations, but hate-filled language keeps many away. It has become so common that it barely raises an eyebrow and this situation has to change. Platforms like Twitter have to give us the tools we need to protect ourselves from hate speech, and adding disability to its Report Tweet function is an easy starting point.”