Center for Inquiry Twitter Policy
The Center for Inquiry, along with its affiliates and branches, is a strong proponent of free expression and communications between and among our supporters and critics alike. Twitter is one of the tools we use to facilitate and engage in those communications, as well as using it as a platform for promotion of our own activities.
CFI welcomes and encourages open communication even (and especially) in the face of disagreements, regardless of the medium or platform. Those who disagree with CFI decisions or positions may certainly make that disagreement known. However, there are times when tweets directed at CFI accounts (by including the account’s twitter handle in a tweet, such as @center4inquiry) are not intended as critique or invitation to debate, but are simply abusive or threatening.
To put a stop to entirely unconstructive, abusive interactions, CFI accounts will sometimes “block” other Twitter accounts. This does not in any way keep any Twitter user from reading tweets from CFI accounts, but simply prevents further interaction between accounts when CFI has deemed a user to be in violation of its Twitter interaction policy, outlined here:
CFI accounts, firstly, abide by and rely upon the rules concerning abusive Twitter use set down by the Twitter company itself. Those rules can be found here.
Rules of particular relevance to CFI accounts and abusive interactions include, but are not limited to the following, quoted directly from the Twitter website:
Impersonation: You may not impersonate others through the Twitter service in a manner that does or is intended to mislead, confuse, or deceive others
Privacy: You may not publish or post other people’s private and confidential information, such as credit card numbers, street address or Social Security/National Identity numbers, without their express authorization and permission.
Violence and Threats: You may not publish or post direct, specific threats of violence against others.
Serial Accounts: You may not create serial accounts for disruptive or abusive purposes, or with overlapping use cases. Mass account creation may result in suspension of all related accounts. Please note that any violation of the Twitter Rules is cause for permanent suspension of all accounts.
CFI also regards the following to be unacceptable behavior:
Slurs and other derogatory terms: Attacking anyone, CFI accounts, staff, or otherwise, with terms generally deemed obscene or unacceptable because they denigrate a person’s race, ethnicity, sex, etc. (including but not limited to “the n-word” or “the c-word”).
Harassment or threats: Threats of violence or other kinds of harm, as well as persistent badgering of anyone, CFI accounts, staff, or otherwise, with abuse or insults, purely for the purpose of humiliation or defamation.
When such violations occur in interactions with CFI accounts, CFI will take the suggestion of Twitter, which advises us thusly:
Block and ignore When you receive unwanted communication from another Twitter user, it is recommend that you block the user and end any communication. Specifically this will prevent that person from following or replying to you.
In especially serious cases, e.g., a plausible threat of violence, CFI may also report violators to Twitter or to law enforcement, as relevant.
CFI is not in the business of censorship, particularly of speech or ideas critical of CFI itself, but it is also not interested in being party to abuse, threats, and other unacceptable behavior. While CFI will not (and frankly, cannot) censor anyone’s right to speak as they wish, it also reserves the right to remove itself from communications that violate the above rules.
CFI embraces and enjoys the ability to connect, interact, and exchange ideas with its thousands of followers on Twitter and other social networks. It is our hope that with this policy in place, those interactions will only improve.
Note that this policy applies to official CFI accounts. Some staff have personal Twitter accounts, which they are free to utilize in any manner that is lawful and consistent with Twitter’s policies and CFI’s personnel policies.