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Twitter changing ‘whitelist’ to ‘allowlist,’ ‘blacklist’ to ‘denylist’ as it weeds out non-inclusive language in its code, internal docs

Twitter Engineering said Thursday it’s weeding out non-inclusive language in its code — which means, for example, that words like “whitelist” and “blacklist” will change to “allowlist” and “denylist,” respectively..

“Inclusive language plays a critical role in fostering an environment where everyone belongs,” the Twitter department said. “At Twitter, the language we have been using in our code does not reflect our values as a company or represent the people we serve. We want to change that.”

What are the details?

Twitter Engineering added that “we’re starting with a set of words we want to move away from using in favor of more inclusive language, such as”:

imageImage source: Twitter

In addition, “master/slave” will become “leader/follower,” “primary/replica,” or “primary/standby.” Rebel News noted that in programming language, “master” refers to the main code while “slave” is used to describe its controls.

Also, “sanity check” will become “quick check,” “confidence check,” or “coherence check”; and “dummy value” will become “placeholder value” or “simple value.”

In its thread, Twitter Engineering said the language changes will be updated “across internal resources, Google Docs, runbooks, FAQs, readmes, technical design docs, and more. We are also implementing a browser extension that will help our teams identify words in documents and web pages, and suggest alternative inclusive words.”

Anything else?

Regynald Augustin, a black engineer at Twitter, jumpstarted the changes months ago after seeing “an email come through to our eng org with the line ‘automatic slave rekick.’ Seeing it was infuriating.”

He added that “our goal here is to apply this language to all of eng, and eventually adopt inclusive language across Twitter.”

Twitter Engineering also offered that “this isn’t just about eng terms or code. Words matter in our meetings, our conversations, and the documents we write. We know there’s still a lot of work to do, but we’re committed to doing our part.”

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