Twitter will label tweets that are demoted for violating its hate speech policy

Twitter announced today a new policy which it claims will offer more transparency about which hate tweets on its platform have been subject to enforcement action. Typically, when tweets violate Twitter’s policies, one of the actions the company can take is to limit the reach of those tweets, or something it calls “viewability filtering.” In these scenarios, tweets remain online but become less visible as they are posted. excluded from areas like search results, trends, recommended notifications, For You and Following timelines, and more.

Instead, if users want to see the tweet, they need to visit the author’s profile directly.

The tweet may also be demoted in replies when such an app is applied and ads will not be displayed in the content, as per Twitter guidelines. state.

Historically, the general public wouldn’t necessarily know if a tweet had been moderated in this way. Now, Twitter says that will change.

The company plans “soon” to start adding visible labels on tweets that have been identified as potential violations of its policies, which has affected their visibility. He did not say when exactly the system would be fully implemented on his network.

Image Credits: Twitter

Also, not all tweets that have had their visibility reduced will be tagged, the company noted.

It’s starting only with tweets that violate your Hateful Conduct Policy and says it will expand the feature to other policy areas in the “coming months.”

“This change is designed to result in enforcement actions that are more proportional and transparent to everyone on our platform,” a blog post written by “Twitter Safety” stated. The post also touted Twitter’s compliance philosophy, calling it “Free Speech, not Freedom of Scope.”

If a tweet is tagged, the user himself will not be banned or removed from the network; the company notes that the policy’s actions will occur “only at the tweet level and will not affect a user’s account.”

Twitter also explains that users whose tweets were tagged will be able to post comments if they believe their tweet was flagged incorrectly, but it says they may not get a response to those comments nor will it guarantee that the tweet’s reach will be restored.

This probably has to do with the big cuts Twitter made to its Trust & Safety teams and the company as a whole. And you can rely heavily on automation to make your labeling decisions, though it’s unclear to what extent this system will be automated. (Twitter no longer responds to inquiries from the press, so blog posts and tweets made by the company or its new owner, Elon Musk, are the only official word on this sort of thing.) Automation, of course, could mean Twitter will get it wrong, something it admits in a Twitter thread about the changes. Here, the company also says that it plans to allow authors to appeal its decision at some point “in the future.”

Again, no hard deadline or approximate time frame was provided.

The release of the new policy follows previous decisions by Twitter under Musk to allow controversial figures, including Trump and neo-Nazis, to rejoin the network. In one incident, Musk brought the artist formerly known as Kanye West back to Twitter, who later tweeted a swastika and was suspended.

The new policy announced today may be one that reflects Twitter’s attempt to balance two opposing forces. On the one hand, Musk is a free-speech advocate who criticized Twitter’s allegedly opaque moderation policies in the years before he took control of the company. He even went so far as to publicly share internal documents and communications, also known as the Twitter archives, in an attempt to expose how Twitter moderation decisions had been made in the past.

The results were not as surprising as I had hoped. What was largely found was a company having to make complex and nuanced decisions, often in real time, around borderline content and high-profile figures.

In fact, visibility filtering was one of the topics that the Twitter archives had covered.

Musk purported to show that Twitter had previously been politically biased in its previous filtering of tweets, but the report did not include any information about how many accounts or tweets were de-amped or the politics of those affected, so no conclusions could be drawn. to be made.

But Musk’s personal beliefs clash with the need to keep a business running. That’s why, on the other side of things, Twitter might be trying to make things right with advertisers.

Since the Musk acquisition, advertisers have been fleeing the web. Major brands including Mars, AT&T, VW, and Stellantis have left, and all of the brand’s security measures have failed to restore their trust. The company can hope that labeling tweets that have been declassified will help marketers feel more comfortable that their ads aren’t running directly alongside hate speech. But advertisers have plenty of other reasons to worry about Twitter.

Since Musk’s acquisition, the network has been chaotic, with constantly changing policies and features, including a now pay-per-reach version of Twitter Blue and, in recent days, changes to how media outlets are tagged. , leading to generally trustworthy newsrooms. like PBS, NPR, CBC and others to abandon the platform entirely.

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