Twitter experimenting with self-censorship tool to prevent users from engaging in ‘harmful’ language

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Twitter is preparing to introduce a tool that on its face appears to be a self-censorship application as the social media giant continues to find new and creative ways to reduce, rather than encourage, free expression.

The new tool is meant to give users the opportunity to “rethink” their responses when engaged in a heated back-and-forth with others.

“When things get heated, you may say things you don’t mean. To let you rethink a reply, we’re running a limited experiment on iOS with a prompt that gives you the option to revise your reply before it’s published if it uses language that could be harmful,” the company’s support division said in a tweet.

The new tool follows another the company added recently: The ability to only receive replies from people you know, which would eliminate “the ratio,” as The Verge noted.

“Getting ratio’d, getting dunked on, the dynamics that happen that we think aren’t as healthy are definitely part of … our thinking about this,” Twitter’s director of product management Suzanne Xie said.

Asked if Twitter officials are concerned the ability to restrict replies means that misinformation could not be easily rebutted, Xie suggested the ability to quote tweet is one possible solution. But, she added, it’s “something we’re going to be watching really closely as we experiment.”

As Twitter aggregate site Twitchy noted further, these tools follow an experimental feature that would allow users to flag tweets with bright colored labels “directly beneath lies and misinformation posted by politicians and public figures.”

Twitchy responded: “How about this for a feature: just let people post what they want?”

Twitter users have panned both new features.

Twitter has a lengthy history of banning voices the speech nannies in charge of policing comments don’t like. In October, Fox News host Tucker Carlson observed, “It’s hard to think of a company that’s hurt this country more than Twitter.”

In an interview with Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), who filed a lawsuit in March 2019 against the social media behemoth, Carlson noted, “If you look at the hate and the division and the cruelty that’s now common. It wasn’t common 10 years ago. Twitter is a huge part of that. And they made a small number of people really rich. They should be ashamed of themselves.”


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