On Tuesday, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey appeared on Joe Rogan’s podcast. Alongside Dorsey was Twitter’s global lead for legal, policy, and trust and safety, Vijaya Gadde. The final person on the podcast was journalist Tim Pool.
During the three and a half hour exchange, numerous topics were dug into, however, one specific subject that was discussed by the panel has taken off on social media — and that was Twitter’s policy regarding "misgendering" and "deadnaming."
According to Google, to misgender someone is to "refer to (someone, especially a transgender person) using a word, especially a pronoun or form of address, that does not correctly reflect the gender with which they identify."
Deadnaming is when someone uses a transgender person’s former name, or "deadname," that they no longer use to identify themselves.
Here’s the pertinent text of Twitter’s Hateful Conduct Policy (the misgendering and deadnaming portions were reportedly added in October):
We prohibit targeting individuals with repeated slurs, tropes or other content that intends to dehumanize, degrade or reinforce negative or harmful stereotypes about a protected category. This includes targeted misgendering or deadnaming of transgender individuals.
Here’s the exchange among Pool, Gadde, Rogan, and Dorsey regarding misgendering, deadnaming, and feminist Meghan Murphy (pertinent portion in bold):
POOL: If Meghan Murphy, who is ... a radical feminist who refuses to use the transgender pronouns, if she's in an argument with a trans person over whether or not they should be allowed in sports or in biologically female spaces, and she refuses to use their pronoun because of her ideology, you'll ban them.
GADDE: Again, it depends on the context on the platform. And it's also not banned permanently. You get warnings.
ROGAN: Well, she was banned permanently, but let's be clear about what happened. Would you explain – because you explained it to me – what did she actually do?
GADDE: But she was warned multiple times. ... My understanding, and I don't have the tweet-by-tweet the way that I did for the others, but my understanding is that she was warned multiple times for misgendering an individual that she was in an argument with. And this individual's actually bringing a lawsuit against her in Canada as well.
ROGAN: So, you have an argument between two people, and you have a rule that enforces only one side of the ideology, and you've banned only one of those people.
GADDE: We have a rule that attempts to address what we have perceived to be instances of abuse and harassment.
ROGAN: And she was saying –
POOL: It's an ideology –
ROGAN: Right, but it is an ideology, right? If she's saying a man is never a woman, if that's what she's saying, and then biologically she's correct, we obviously have a debate here. This is not a clear cut ... this is not something like you could say, water is wet, you know, this is dry. This is not something you could prove. This is something where you have to acknowledge that there's an understanding that if someone is a trans person, we all agree to consider them a woman, and to think of them as a woman, to talk to them and address them with their preferred name and their preferred pronouns. But biologically, this is not accurate. So, we have a divide here. We have a divide between the conservative estimation of what's happening, and then the definition that's the liberal definition.
GADDE: I think that's right Joe, and I think what I'm trying to say is that it's not that you can't have those viewpoints. If you're taking those viewpoints and you're targeting them at a specific person in a way that reflects your intent to abuse and harass them –
ROGAN: What if it's in the context of the conversation? What if she's saying that I don't think that trans women should be allowed in these female spaces, to make decisions for women? And then this person's arguing and she says, "A woman is biologically female, you are never going to be a woman."
POOL: She responded with, "Men aren't women though." And that was her first, in the series of events, that's what got her the suspension and the warning.
GADDE: That was one of many tweets that was part of providing context, and that was actually the second strike, is my understanding.
POOL: But why is that a strike?
ROGAN: Yeah, why is that a strike?
GADDE: But, again, it's the context of, I don't have all the tweets in front of me. There were ten or twelve tweets going back and forth and my understanding is that, in the context of all of those, she was misgendering a particular person. Not that she was holding a belief –
POOL: It was a public figure though, wasn't it?
GADDE: I don't know.
ROGAN: It was.
POOL: So, you're having an individual who is debating a high profile individual in her community, and she's expressing her ideology of versus hers, and you have opted to ban one of those ideologies.
ROGAN: And it's within the context of this conversation. This is what is being debated, whether or not someone is in fact a woman when they were born a male.
GADDE: I understand that this is controversial. I do.
ROGAN: Especially to a radical feminist, someone who –
GADDE: I understand why people would not agree with the rule. But, that being said, it is a rule on our platform, and once you're warned about the rule, to repeatedly post the same content is also gonna be a violation of our rules.
ROGAN: Right, but the rule, this seems like a good example of an ideologically based rule. If she's saying that a man is never a woman though, that is not in that context, harassment. That is a very specific opinion that she has that happens to be biologically accurate. Now, I don't agree with targeting harassment on anybody. Targeted harassment on trans people, or straight people, or whatever – I don't agree with it. I don't think you should do it. It's just, it's not something I want to do. But, in this context, what she's saying is not just her expression, but it's accurate.
POOL: I think an important point is, if I tweeted to you, "Joe, you are not a hamster," that's clearly not a violation of the rules ... because I know people who have specifically begun using insults of animals to avoid getting kicked off the platform for breaking the rules. Certain individuals who have been suspended now use certain small woodland creatures in place of slurs, so they're not really insulting you and it's fine.
But there are people who consider themselves trans-species. Now, I'm not trying to belittle the trans community, by no means, I'm just trying to point out that you have a specific rule for one set of people. So, there are people who have general body dysphoria. You don't have rules on that. There are people who have actually amputated their own arms. You don't have rules on that. You have a very specific rule set, and in, more importantly, in the context of a targeted conversation, I can say a whole bunch of things that would never be considered a rule break, but that one is, which is ideologically driven.
GADDE: Yeah. Thank you for the feedback. We're, again, always learning and trying to understand different people's perspectives. And, all I'll say is that our intent is not to police ideology, our intent is to police behaviors that we view as abusive and of harassment. And I hear your point of view, and it's something that I'll definitely discuss with my team.
DORSEY: And even in this case, it wasn't just a going against this particular rule, but also things that were more ban evasive as well, including taking a screenshot of the original tweet, re-posting it, which is against our terms ... so, it's more the actions.
POOL: Well, that sounds like protest. It sounded like a protest against your rule. I understand you can ban them for it.
GADDE: But people can protest any of our rules. We can't let them do that. They can protest any of them.
POOL: No, I agree, I'm not ... I understand what you're saying. I just want to make sure that I point out [that] she was clearly doing it as an effort to push back on what she viewed as an ideologically driven rule.
ROGAN: Well, the problem is, this is a real debate in the LGBT community. This is a debate where there is a division, and there's a division between people that think that trans women are invading biological female spaces, and making decisions that don't benefit these biological females. ... This is an actual debate, and it's a debate amongst progressive people, amongst left-wing people. It's a debate amongst liberals. This is, I mean, I would imagine the vast majority of people in the LBGT community are in fact on the Left, and this is one example of that. So, you have a protected class that's having an argument with a woman who feels like there's an ideological bent to this conversation that is not only not accurate, but not fair. And she feels like it's not fair for biological women.
As Pool noted, Canadian feminist Meghan Murphy was permanently suspended from Twitter following a series of tweets critical of the trans movement, including one in which she allegedly "misgendered" a biological male who identifies as a female.
As The Daily Wire previously reported:
In August, Murphy’s Twitter account was locked after she sent out several tweets criticizing Lisa Kreut, a transgender individual who allegedly "targeted Feminist Current’s ad revenue and led efforts to have Vancouver Rape Relief blacklisted at the 2016 BCFED Convention."
In order to regain full access after having violated Twitter’s rules regarding "hateful conduct," Murphy deleted the tweets. She then complained publicly to Twitter, asking if she was "no longer permitted to report facts" on the social media platform. For this, Murphy claims that she was suspended for half a day, and told by Twitter to delete her public complaint.
In October, Murphy sent out a pair of tweets in which she questioned the transgender movement, writing, "Men aren’t women," and asking, "How are transwomen not men? What is the difference between men and transwomen?"
Murphy was notified by Twitter on November 15 that her tweets had once again violated the company’s "hateful conduct" rules.
According to Murphy, who is now suing Twitter, she was notified of her permanent suspension on November 23, 2018, after allegedly referring to Jessica Yaniv, formerly Jonathan Yaniv, as "him."
Much of the conversation surrounding potentially unnecessary twitter suspensions and other alleged violations were couched with apologetic language by Dorsey and Gadde, both of whom admitted that the issues they face scaling the rules for such massive company are incredibly difficult and sometimes result in mistakes.
Pool responded by pointing out that the mistakes lean nearly universally against conservatives, citing a Quilette piece by Richard Hanania that documented a number of such alleged mistakes.
According to Hanania: "Of 22 prominent, politically active individuals who are known to have been suspended since 2005 and who expressed a preference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, 21 supported Donald Trump."
Later in the podcast, Dorsey said that there is "more of a liberal bias within our company ... but that doesn’t mean that we put that in our rules." He later stated, however, that "our bias does influence looking in this direction, and our biases influence us putting a rule like this [misgendering and deadnaming] in place."