Discord Updates Hateful Conduct Policy To Include “Misgendering” And “Deadnaming”

Natasha Biase

Popular instant messaging app Discord has updated its hateful conduct policy to ban deadnaming and misgendering transgender individuals. The app, commonly used by video game enthusiasts and social communities, quietly introduced the new policy to “promote acceptance and inclusivity.”

According to the Hateful Conduct Policy Explainer on its website, using hate symbols, denying historical mass atrocities, using degrading or dehumanizing language, and inciting feelings of hostility toward groups or individuals will not be tolerated.

Although the policy claims there are exceptions in cases of satirical or “educational” speech, it also provides a list of “protected characteristics,” including “age; caste; color; disability; ethnicity; family responsibilities; gender; gender identity; housing status; national origin; race; refugee or immigration status; religious affiliation; serious illness; sex; sexual orientation; socioeconomic class and status; source of income; status as a victim of domestic violence, sexual violence, or stalking; as well as weight and size.”

In addition to offering tips on how to avoid violating the Hateful Conduct Policy, Discord also lists several examples of what the site constitutes as hateful, such as “repeatedly using slurs to degrade and demean individuals or groups. This includes deadnaming or misgendering a transgender person” and “expressing contempt, loathing, or disgust towards members of protected groups based on their inherent characteristics.”

Speaking with Pink News, a spokesperson for Discord explained that despite the changes being announced publicly this month, the updates were made in 2022.

“As part of our ongoing efforts to ensure Discord remains a safe and fun place for people to hang out with friends, we continually evaluate potential harms and update our policies,” explained the spokesperson.

“We often work with organizations and subject matter experts to ensure our policies accurately encompass a holistic view of how these issues manifest across the internet and society.”

Discord is not the first social media platform to ban misgendering and deadnaming. In 2022, TikTok announced that it was taking steps against “misgendering, deadnaming, and misogyny.”

According to Cormac Keenan, the app’s head of Trust and Safety, “these ideologies have long been prohibited on TikTok.”

He continued: “We’ve heard from creators and civil society organizations that it’s important to be explicit in our Community Guidelines. On top of this, we hope our recent feature enabling people to add their pronouns will encourage respectful and inclusive dialogue on our platform.”

Also last year, discussion was sparked after a moderator informed users on a Reddit board that the community had received “a list of some things that will result in removals and possibly a ban” from top Reddit administrators.

The update, published by subreddit moderator u/theotherotherhand on the popular r/PoliticalCompassMemes board, asked the community to “tone back [their] language and make a shift away from certain types of memes.”

Although Reddit’s formal policy doesn’t specify what types of language are considered a violation of its rules, some of the examples listed in the update include misgendering a transgender person on purpose, “referring to being trans as a ‘mental illness,’” saying phrases like “trans women aren’t women,” deadnaming a trans person on purpose, “equating LGBT with pedophilia,” and using the term ‘groomer’ to refer to members of the LGBT community.

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