Elon Musk Backtracks on Anti-Trans Harassment Policy

Elon Musk's social media platform X has already changed its policy around anti-trans harassment just days after announcing it. The new policy that was introduced last week would reduce the visibility of posts that misgender or deadname transgender individuals. However, after receiving backlash from right-wing users, Musk assured them the policy would not affect them. Now the policy has been officially altered.

The original policy stated that if a transgender person reported a post that used different pronouns than what they identify with or used a previous name, the post's visibility would be reduced. This was aimed to discourage but not prohibit targeted harassment against trans users.

However, within a day of announcing this, influential conservative voices on the platform complained directly to Musk. He tried to calm them by saying they would not be suspended. But some like YouTube commentator Tim Pool threatened to stop advertising on X over the policy.

In response, Musk engaged with Pool on the site, saying he was "fixing" the policy. He later clarified that the policy was only due to a Brazilian court ruling and should not apply elsewhere. And now the official policy has been changed to reflect this. It now states the visibility reduction will only happen where local laws require it. This means outside of countries like Brazil, anti-trans targeting will not face any consequences on X.

After Musk's acquisition of the platform, its previous rules against misgendering and deadnaming trans users were removed. So the latest policy was seen as reinstating protections to an extent. But the new owners' pandering to right-wing backlash means even discouragement of trans harassment is now absent from the rules.

Many are concerned this could normalize anti-trans behavior on X. Protections for transgender people have been facing attacks recently in some countries and online platforms. By caving to pressure so quickly, Musk's decision raises questions about the company's commitment to inclusion.

Trans advocacy groups have criticized the reversal, with some calling for organizations and individuals to stop using X altogether. They argue no community should have to face targeted abuse to make others comfortable.

And research has shown such harassment can seriously harm transgender people's wellbeing and even increase suicide risks. It remains to be seen how this will impact trans users on the platform moving forward. But for now, Musk seems focused on not angering parts of his loyal fan base, even if it means rolling back support for certain groups.

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