Twitter Will Start Using Hateful Conduct Label On Restricted Tweets

Twitter is making yet another policy change that will boost transparency around content that gets restricted due to hate speech violations on the platform. The social media site will soon show labels that clearly tell users that the content's visibility has been restricted because it went against Twitter's policies around hateful language. The company is no stranger to the tactic, but so far, it didn't disclose when and why the platform limited the reach of problematic tweets. "We have not historically been transparent when we've taken this action," Twitter says in its blog post.

Content moderation on Twitter has historically been a slippery slope, but under its new CEO Elon Musk, the company is taking a new approach that preaches "freedom of speech, but not freedom of reach." As such, Twitter won't outright pull problematic content. Instead, it will make it harder for others to find that content, while the algorithm will strictly not recommend it to others. 

Twitter is currently focusing on hateful tweets, but the company says it will expand the labeling and visibility-diminishing penalty to more types of problematic content in the foreseeable future. Moreover, the company says it will continue to pull illegal content and suspend bad actors, even though Musk has previously expressed disdain for bans and permanent suspensions.

Limiting hate in full public view

"Negative/hate tweets will be max deboosted & demonetized," Musk tweeted back in November 2022. Twitter's new labels, which will start appearing "soon," will clearly mention "visibility limited," but will still allow users to see the original content at their own discretion. In addition to curtailed reach, Twitter will also avoid putting ads next to problematic tweets that go against its hateful content policies. 

In the not-too-distant past, Twitter was criticized for limiting the reach of certain accounts in a rather opaque fashion, something Musk criticized on multiple occasions. However, labeling a tweet and reducing its reach doesn't mean the platform is infallible and that users have no recourse against faulty judgments. The company says it will let users challenge the aforementioned type of labeling decisions. However, there is no assurance that the decision will be reversed. 

"Submitting feedback does not guarantee you will receive a response or that your Tweet's reach will be restored," warns the company. An appeal system will arrive down the road, but there's no certainty about when that is going to happen. Plus, there is no word on if — or when — Twitter will change its transparency attitude toward shadowbanning certain accounts. Just a few months ago, Musk promised that shadowbanned accounts will get to know why they have been served the penalty and if they can appeal against the action.