Twitter announced on Monday a new policy aimed at providing greater transparency around enforcement actions taken against hateful tweets on its platform. The social media giant revealed that it plans to add visible labels to tweets that have been flagged as potentially violating its policies and have had their visibility reduced.
This would enable users to know when a tweet has been moderated and help prevent advertisers’ ads from being displayed alongside hate speech. The company’s new policy will begin with tweets that violate its Hateful Conduct policy and expand to other policy areas in the coming months.
The company’s enforcement actions usually include limiting the reach of tweets, also known as visibility filtering, to make them less discoverable. In the past, the wider public would not necessarily know if a tweet had been moderated in this way. However, Twitter’s new policy aims to provide greater transparency by allowing users to see which tweets have been moderated and why. The company has assured its users that the new policy will not result in users being shadowbanned or removed from the network.
While Twitter will allow users whose tweets have been labeled to submit feedback if they believe their tweet was incorrectly flagged, it did not guarantee the tweet’s reach would be restored. The company acknowledges that its new policy might result in enforcement actions that are more proportional and transparent for everyone on its platform. In a blog post authored by “Twitter Safety,” the company reiterated its enforcement philosophy, calling it “Freedom of Speech, not Freedom of Reach.”
However, the new policy comes at a time when the social media giant is struggling to balance two opposing forces. Twitter’s new owner, Elon Musk, is a free-speech proponent who has previously criticized Twitter’s moderation policies. However, advertisers have been leaving the network since Musk’s takeover, with major brands such as Mars, AT&T, VW, and Stellantis all departing. The company is hoping that labeling tweets that have been moderated will help advertisers feel more comfortable that their ads are not running alongside hate speech.
Since Musk’s acquisition, Twitter has undergone significant changes, including the introduction of a pay-for-reach version of Twitter Blue and updates to how news outlets are labeled. These changes have led to generally reliable newsrooms like PBS, NPR, CBC, and others leaving the platform altogether.
In conclusion, Twitter’s new policy is an attempt to balance its commitment to free speech with the need to maintain a functioning business. While the move will provide greater transparency around the moderation of tweets, it remains to be seen whether it will be enough to restore advertisers’ trust in the platform.