In a move to bring transparency to its content moderation practices and “visibility filtering” functions, Elon Musk-owned Twitter will soon start labelling tweets identified as potentially violating its rules related to hateful content.
Twitter said the latest update on its enforcement policies is based on a philosophy of “Freedom of Speech, Not Reach”. The tweets that violate Twitter’s policies are excluded from search results, trends, and recommended notifications. Such tweets are also downranked in replies. Historically, Twitter has not been transparent while taking such actions.
Both tweet authors and viewers will now be able to see labels saying that the tweet’s visibility has been limited. While these labels will initially apply only to a set of tweets that potentially violate Twitter’s Hateful Conduct policy, the company plans to expand their application to other applicable policy areas in the coming months. The change is designed to result in enforcement actions that are “more proportional and transparent for everyone on our platform,” says a blog post by Twitter Safety.
According to Twitter’s hateful conduct policies, text and media that include slurs and tropes, incitement to behaviour that targets individuals or groups, references to genocides and lynching, and hateful imagery are recognised as hateful content.
The profiles making such tweets are made less discoverable, according to Twitter’s enforcement policies. Following the new update, authors will be able to submit feedback on the label if they think the platform had incorrectly limited their Tweet’s visibility.
“Currently, submitting feedback does not guarantee you will receive a response or that your Tweet’s reach will be restored. We are working on allowing authors to appeal our decision,” Twitter said.
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The development comes days after Bari Weiss, founder of the news publication The Free Press, published Twitter Files, a series of revelations on the steps taken by the microblogging platform to allegedly suppress free speech.
The report claimed that teams of Twitter employees secretly built blacklists, prevented dis-favoured tweets from trending, and actively limited the visibility of entire accounts or even trending topics. It also alleged Twitter of having a bias against conservatives in censoring certain posts and users.
“Our mission at Twitter 2.0 is to promote and protect the public conversation. We believe Twitter users have the right to express their opinions and ideas without fear of censorship. We also believe it is our responsibility to keep users on our platform safe from content violating our Rules,” Twitter said.