George Floyd: Twitter drops ‘master’, ‘slave’ and ‘blacklist’

Social media platform Twitter is dropping the terms “master”, “slave” and “blacklist” in preference of more inclusive language.

The terms are frequently utilized in programming codes which originated decades ago.

US bank JPMorgan has also announced a similar move as more companies address racism following a killing of George Floyd by police in Minneapolis.

Replacing the terms could cost millions and simply take months, based on experts.

  • Quaker Oats acknowledges ‘racial stereotype’
  • Microsoft’s GitHub drops master-slave jargon
  • Why firms are speaking out about George Floyd

In programming speak, “master” refers to the primary version of code that controls the “slaves,” or replicas. “Blacklist” is used to spell it out items that are automatically denied, typically forbidden websites.

On Thursday, Twitter’s engineering division tweeted out some words that it wants “to move away from using in favour of more inclusive language”. The list includes replacing “whitelist” with “allowlist” and “master/slave” with “leader/follower”.

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

JPMorgan said it’s also dropping the outdated coding terms because the Black Lives Matter movement ripples through the corporate world. It said the terms had appeared in some of its technology policies and programming codes.

Last month, GitHub, the world’s biggest site for pc software developers, said it was taking care of changing the word ‘master’ from its coding language. The firm, owned by Microsoft, is used by 50 million developers to store and update its coding projects.

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

Global brands may also be looking watchfully at their product logos and names to avoid racial stereotyping. In recent weeks, a number of well-known brands have said they’ll certainly be changing or reviewing their branding including Quaker Oats which is renaming its Aunt Jemima type of syrups and foods.

At the same time frame, social media platforms are also under great pressure to tackle hate posts, with Facebook facing a widespread ad boycott from the Stop Hate for Profit campaign. Ford, Adidas, Coca Cola, Unilever and Starbucks have all added their weight to the campaign, directed at removing hateful content on social networks.

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