George Floyd: Twitter abandons “master”, “slave” and “blacklist”


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The social media platform Twitter is moving away from the terms “master”, “slave” and “blacklist” in favor of more inclusive language.

The terms are frequently used in programming codes that go back decades.

US bank JPMorgan has also announced a similar decision as more companies attack racism after the murder of George Floyd by police in Minneapolis.

Replacing the terms could cost millions and take months, experts say.

  • Quaker Oats Recognizes “Racial Stereotype”
  • Microsoft’s GitHub drops master-slave lingo
  • Why Companies Talk About George Floyd

In programming language, “master” refers to the main version of the code that controls the “slaves” or replicas. “Blacklist” is used to describe items that are automatically denied, usually prohibited websites.

On Thursday, the engineering division of Twitter tweeted a set of words it wants to “move away from usage in favor of more inclusive language.” The list includes replacing “white list” by “authorization list” and “master / slave” by “leader / follower”.

Last month Twitter founder Jack Dorsey donated $ 3 million (£ 2.4 million) to former NFL player Colin Kaepernick’s Know Your Rights camp to “advance the liberation and well-being ”of minority communities.

JPMorgan said it is also removing obsolete coding terms as the Black Lives Matter movement spreads across the corporate world. He said the terms had appeared in some of his technology policies and programming codes.

Last month, GitHub, the world’s largest site for software developers, said it was working to change the term “master” from its coding language. The company, owned by Microsoft, is used by 50 million developers to store and update coding projects.

Google’s Chromium web browser project and the Android operating system have both encouraged developers to avoid using the terms “blacklist” and “whitelist”.

Global brands are also carefully examining the logos and names of their products to avoid racial stereotypes. In the past few weeks, a number of well-known brands have said they will change or revise their brand image, including Quaker Oats, which renames its line of Aunt Jemima syrups and foods.

At the same time, social media platforms are also under pressure to tackle hate messages, with Facebook facing a widespread advertising boycott of the Stop Hate for Profit campaign. Ford, Adidas, Coca Cola, Unilever and Starbucks have all added weight to the campaign, aimed at removing hate content from social media.


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