Twitter may have a looser stance on bans under Elon Musk, but it’s still willing to flag content that runs afoul of its rules. The social network will label tweets it believes are violating its Hateful Conduct policy. You’ll see a notice that Twitter is limiting the “visibility” of the problematic post with an opportunity to learn more.
The labels will cover more types of policy violations in the months ahead. Users can initially provide “feedback” on a label if they feel it was in error, but they’ll have to wait until sometime in the future to formally appeal decisions. The company stresses that the labels only apply to individual tweets, not an entire account.
We’re adding more transparency to the enforcement actions we take on Tweets. As a first step, soon you’ll start to see labels on some Tweets identified as potentially violating our rules around Hateful Conduct letting you know that we’ve limited their visibility. 🧵…
— Twitter Safety (@TwitterSafety) April 17, 2023
Twitter sees this as a reflection of its Musk-era “freedom of speech, not freedom of reach” philosophy where it more often shies away from outright bans in favor of limiting exposure to content. Theoretically, this prevents offensive speech from spreading without completely silencing users on the platform. It also promises greater transparency to address concerns of “shadow bans” that limit reach without someone’s knowledge. Musk has lifted bans on a number of high-profile accounts, including former President Trump’s, although it was willing to temporarily suspend Ye despite lifting a permanent ban in November.
The move might not please some. Advocacy groups have criticized Twitter for not doing enough to protect frequent targets of hate, such as the LGBTQ community. While offenders can still face bans if they’re “bad actors” or violate the law, they’re more likely to stay on the service. This also isn’t certain to satisfy advertisers leaving Twitter over concerns their ads may run alongside objectionable material. And while it will address concerns over possible censorship, it won’t necessarily please those who see labels as tarnishing a post’s worth.