Twitter Unveils New Shadowban Policy Restricting The Reach Of “Hateful Content”

( – Twitter announced a new plan to shadowban content it considers to be “hateful content.” Instead of doing it without user knowledge, the new policy will label tweets that are restricted in terms of their reach and offer users the opportunity to appeal if they believe an error was made.

In a blog post entitled “Freedom of Speech, Not Reach” the company outlines the updates to content moderation that have been brewing under Elon Musk’s tenure as owner. They laid out their ability to downregulate the reach of content that targets protected classes with hateful language but also announced the intention to label when that occurs and offer users an appeal process, something that Twitter 1.0 didn’t do.

“Visibility Limited,” the warning label says, informing users that the content may violate Twitter’s rules against “hateful conduct.” They’ll also avoid running ads next to those tweets in the timeline.

The policy decision was an attempt to break the binary of leaving it up or banning it entirely. Musk is a self-proclaimed “free speech absolutist” and under his leadership, he’s been trying to find more ways to tolerate offensive speech without totally bucking advertisers.

Twitter 1.0 was infamous for claiming they didn’t shadowban anyone, but simply changed the definition to “visibility filtering,” a term they use in lieu of shadowbanning which is essentially the same thing. The release of Twitter’s algorithm earlier in April proved that they were in fact limiting the reach of certain content or accounts.

Crucially, Twitter is announcing these new steps will only affect individual tweets and will not punish the user’s account across the board should they tweet “hateful content.” It remains to be seen how this update will impact users, what content will be considered hateful, and when exactly the new policy will be released.

They also acknowledge that they will make mistakes, and encourage users to report such should their automated system get it wrong. They also added that illegal content, spammers, and other bad actors will continue to be permanently banned.

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