Twitter said today that it will add labels to tweets that have been flagged by the company to reduce their visibility. Elon Musk & Co. touted this as a “freedom of speech, not reach” move.
Last week, the social media company first made the announcement about visibility saying that the label provides more transparency into the company’s process for reducing the reach of hateful tweets.
“Restricting the reach of Tweets helps reduce binary ‘leave up versus take down’ content moderation decisions and supports our freedom of speech vs freedom of reach approach,” the company said at that time.
“However, like other social platforms, we have not historically been transparent when we’ve taken this action.”
Twitter said that labels will be shown to both authors and viewers. Usually, these tweets will show text such as “Visibility limited: this Tweet may violate Twitter’s rules against Hateful Conduct.”
Twitter’s enforcement policy says that tweets with such labels will not show up in search results, recommendations or timelines — those tweets will be hidden in both the “For You” and “Following timelines. Additionally, there will be no ads placed adjacent to posts with reduced visibility.
The company admitted that there might be mistakes in labeling these tweets, so authors can submit feedback. Twitter said that this action “does not guarantee you will receive a response or that your Tweet’s reach will be restored.”
Notably, under the previous management, Twitter geo-restricted tweets and accounts in certain regions upon local government’s requests. Twitter sates that the new visibility policy will be more granular as it will be applied at the tweet level, and not the account level.
It’s not clear if Twitter will restrict the reach of a tweet if someone quotes the tweet in question to point out the label. Similarly, drawing attention to tweets with reduced visibility might have the opposite effect as people may start sharing screenshots of those tweets.
Since Musk took over the social network and became its new owner, he has cut down on staff in moderation and safety verticals. The new management has also put emphasis on developing crowdsourced moderation tools for Community Notes in an effort to try and reduce the burden on staff and contractors.