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Twitter Allowed Elliot Page's Deadname To Trend In Spite Of Its Hateful Conduct Policy

Elliot Page’s deadname appeared as a trending topic on Twitter on Tuesday, violating the site’s own policy on hateful conduct.

The Umbrella Academy actor’s deadname — the name he used before coming out as trans — was listed under the site’s trending tab for at least 45 minutes.

According to Twitter’s hateful conduct policy, users are prohibited from “targeting others 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,” the policy states.

Trending topics are determined algorithmically, according to the site’s policies, but the company “may not allow or may temporarily prevent content from appearing in Trends until more context is available” if the content violates its rules.

After BuzzFeed News contacted a Twitter spokesperson, Page’s deadname no longer appeared to be trending. Twitter spokesperson Trenton Kennedy confirmed the site had removed it as a trending topic.

In a statement to BuzzFeed News, Kennedy reiterated the site’s policies and said allowing Page’s deadname to trend was a mistake.

“The term you referenced should not have been allowed to appear in Trends, and it has since been removed and prohibited from appearing in Trends,” Kennedy said. “Our teams are constantly evaluating our internal processes for mitigating this from happening.”

“Elliot Page” later appeared as a trending topic, with the tweets largely supporting the actor and defending them from anti-trans harassment.

The actor did not immediately reply to a request for comment from BuzzFeed News.

Page’s deadname originally trended due to targeted harassment sparked by Jordan Peterson, the right-wing internet personality and former psychology professor best known for railing against social justice issues, who rose to prominence for saying he would refuse to use the pronouns a trans or nonbinary student asked him to.

Peterson’s Twitter account was suspended on June 22 after he tweeted about Page — using their deadname and she/her pronouns — saying they had their “breasts removed by a criminal physician.”

In a video where Peterson repeatedly misgendered and deadnamed Page, Peterson said his suspension would remain in place “unless I delete the hateful tweet in question, and I would rather die than do that.”

Peterson’s suspension sparked an influx of anti-trans Twitter harassment against Page, which led to his deadname appearing as a trending topic. His deadname also trended in December, according to tweets at the time, due to similar harassment.

This is not the first time Twitter trending topics have contained hate speech or other prohibited content. The platform boosted hashtags in 2018 spreading baseless conspiracy theories that pipe bombs sent to Democrats were “false flags.” Days later, the phrase “Kill all Jews” briefly appeared on the trending bar. In India last year, calls for police to “shoot” protesters trended for several hours. It was removed only after widespread outcry and an inquiry from BuzzFeed News.

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