Can you get banned from Twitter for tweeting the snarky advice "learn to code" at journalists who just lost their jobs? Amidst on-going layoffs at media companies like BuzzFeed and The Huffington Post, a rumor spread on social media Monday that such comments would be "treated as abusive behavior" and a "violation of Twitter's Terms of Service."
But a spokesperson for Twitter tells me that it's "more nuanced" than that.
"Twitter is responding to a targeted harassment campaign against specific individuals—a policy that's long been against the Twitter Rules," said the spokesperson in an email to Reason.
The Wrap's Jon Levine said representatives for the social media company had backed away from the position they related to him earlier, which was that the phrase "learn to code" itself constituted abusive behavior. The new position seems to be that "learn to code" is not de facto harassment, but could be considered harassment if tweeted aggressively as part of campaign to intimidate a specific user, in accordance with Twitter's somewhat vague abusive behavior policy.
For more on disruption in the media industry, read Washington Post columnist Megan McArdle's latest piece on journalism's "pivot to dust moment," a turn of phrase invented by yours truly. (But don't go tweeting "pivot to dust" at journalists in a targeted or insulting way, I guess.)