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Twitter’s New Labels Aim for Transparency in Enforcing Content Rules

Twitter has announced that it will begin labeling tweets that are offensive but will not remove them from the platform. This move comes as the social media company has faced criticism for allowing hateful, racist, and offensive content to remain on its site, drawing frustration from users.

In an effort to increase transparency for tweets that violate its rules, Twitter will add labels to some tweets identified as potentially violating its policies, such as those containing hateful conduct. The labels will inform both the tweet author and other users which policy the tweet may have breached.

Twitter believes that adding labels without removing the tweets, it can bring a new level of transparency to enforcement actions. Tweets carrying these labels will be less easily found, and ads will not be placed adjacent to labeled content.

This policy update follows recent changes to Twitter that have led to dissatisfaction among advertisers, many of whom have left the platform since Elon Musk acquired it in October last year. Musk, who had no prior experience running a social media company, removed safeguards that limited the spread of misinformation, racism, antisemitism, and hateful content on the platform.

Twitter’s new approach to content moderation, called “visibility filtering,” aims to strike a balance between freedom of speech and freedom of reach. The company will restrict the reach of tweets but will not apply any further restrictions to users’ accounts.

Twitter assures users that it will delete tweets containing illegal content and suspend bad actors from the platform. Users will have the opportunity to submit feedback and appeal decisions if they believe their content has been unfairly limited in visibility.

Some users have expressed concerns about their tweet reach being downgraded without reason, while others are divided over the latest policy change. Some welcome the new approach, provided that the definition of hate speech is clear and fair, while others criticize it as arbitrary and detrimental to the user base.

Since Elon Musk’s acquisition of Twitter, the platform has seen a significant increase in racist comments, including a 500% rise in the use of the N-word within 12 hours of the deal’s completion. This development has tested Musk’s claim of being a “free speech absolutist,” turning Twitter into a gathering place for conservatives who denounce what they perceive as progressive values.