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Twitter's Abusive Behavior

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Twitter Rules: You may not engage in the targeted harassment of someone, or incite other people to do so. We consider abusive behavior an attempt to harass, intimidate, or silence someone else’s voice.


On Twitter, you should feel safe expressing your unique point of view. We believe in freedom of expression and open dialogue, but that means little as an underlying philosophy if voices are silenced because people are afraid to speak up.

In order to facilitate healthy dialogue on the platform, and empower individuals to express diverse opinions and beliefs, we prohibit behavior that harasses or intimidates, or is otherwise intended to shame or degrade others. In addition to posing risks to people’s safety, abusive behavior may also lead to physical and emotional hardship for those affected.

Learn more about our approach to policy development and our enforcement philosophy.

When this applies

Some Tweets may seem to be abusive when viewed in isolation, but may not be when viewed in the context of a larger conversation. When we review this type of content, it may not be clear whether it is intended to harass an individual, or if it is part of a consensual conversation. To help our teams understand the context of a conversation, we may need to hear directly from the person being targeted, to ensure that we have the information needed prior to taking any enforcement action.

We will review and take action against reports of accounts targeting an individual or group of people with any of the following behavior within Tweets or Direct Messages. For accounts engaging in abusive behavior on their profile, please refer to our abusive profile policy. For behavior targeting people based on their race, ethnicity, national origin, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, religious affiliation, age, disability, or serious disease, this may be in violation of our hateful conduct policy.

Violent threats

We prohibit content that makes violent threats against an identifiable target. Violent threats are declarative statements of intent to inflict injuries that would result in serious and lasting bodily harm, where an individual could die or be significantly injured, e.g., “I will kill you.”

Note: We have a zero tolerance policy against violent threats. Those deemed to be sharing violent threats will face immediate and permanent suspension of their account. Wishing, hoping, or calling for serious harm on a person or group of people.

Note: We have a zero tolerance policy against violent threats. Those deemed to be sharing violent threats will face immediate and permanent suspension of their account.

Wishing, hoping, or calling for serious harm on a person or group of people

We do not tolerate content that wishes, hopes, promotes, incites, or expresses a desire for death, serious bodily harm or serious disease against an individual or group of people. This includes, but is not limited to:

Hoping that someone dies as a result of a serious disease e.g., “I hope you get cancer and die.”

Wishing for someone to fall victim to a serious accident e.g., “I wish that you would get run over by a car next time you run your mouth.”

Saying that a group of individuals deserves serious physical injury e.g., “If this group of protesters don’t shut up, they deserve to be shot.”

About wishes of harm exceptions on Twitter

We recognize that conversations regarding certain individuals credibly accused of severe violence may prompt outrage and associated wishes of harm. In these limited cases, we will request the user to delete the Tweet without any risk of account penalty, strike, or suspension. Examples are, but not limited to:

“I wish all rapists to die.”

“Child abusers should be hanged.”

Unwanted sexual advances

While some consensual nudity and adult content is permitted on Twitter, we prohibit unwanted sexual advances and content that sexually objectifies an individual without their consent. This includes, but is not limited to:

sending someone unsolicited and/or unwanted adult media, including images, videos, and GIFs;

unwanted sexual discussion of someone’s body;

solicitation of sexual acts; and

any other content that otherwise sexualizes an individual without their consent.

Using insults, profanity, or slurs with the purpose of harassing or intimidating others

We take action against the use of insults, profanity, or slurs to target others. In some cases, such as (but not limited to) severe, repetitive usage of insults or slurs where the primary intent is to harass or intimidate others, we may require Tweet removal. In other cases, such as (but not limited to) moderate, isolated usage of insults and profanity where the primary intent is to harass or intimidate others, we may limit Tweet visibility as further described below. Please also note that while some individuals may find certain terms to be offensive, we will not take action against every instance where insulting terms are used.

Encouraging or calling for others to harass an individual or group of people

We prohibit behavior that encourages others to harass or target specific individuals or groups with abusive behavior. This includes, but is not limited to; calls to target people with abuse or harassment online and behavior that urges offline action such as physical harassment.

Denying mass casualty events took place

We prohibit content that denies that mass murder or other mass casualty events took place, where we can verify that the event occured, and when the content is shared with abusive intent. This may include references to such an event as a “hoax” or claims that victims or survivors are fake or “actors.” It includes, but is not limited to, events like the Holocaust, school shootings, terrorist attacks, and natural disasters.

Do I need to be the target of this content for it to be reviewed for violating the Twitter Rules?

No, we review both first-person and bystander reports of such content.


When determining the penalty for violating this policy, we consider a number of factors including, but not limited to, the severity of the violation and an individual’s previous record of rule violations. The following is a list of potential enforcement options for content that violates this policy:

Downranking Tweets in replies, except when the user follows the Tweet author.

Making Tweets ineligible for amplification in Top search results and/or on timelines for users who don’t follow the Tweet author.

Excluding Tweets and/or accounts in email or in-product recommendations.

Requiring Tweet removal.

For example, we may ask someone to remove the violating content and serve a period of time in read-only mode before they can Tweet again. Subsequent violations will lead to longer read-only periods and may eventually result in permanent suspension.

Suspending accounts whose primary use we’ve determined is to engage in abusive behavior as defined in this policy, or who have shared violent threats.

Learn more about our range of enforcement options.

If someone believes their account was suspended in error, they can submit an appeal.