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Twitter seems to limit visibility of tweets with words like ‘trans’, queer’, and ‘gay’

Trans rights activists have pointed out that some words such as “trans”, “LGBT” or “BLM” in tweets do not appear in the preview pane when sent as a direct message on the platform.

Instead, they say only the link to the original tweet appears, in contrast to other tweets that do not contain these words for which the preview pane appears normal.

The UK-based research collective Trans Safety Network accused Twitter of deboosting tweets containing certain words, including preventing them being shown as previews in DMs.

The group alleged that words such as “trans,” “gay,” “lesbian,” “queer,” and “bisexual” are being deboosted.

The chair of Trans Media Watch jane fae pointed out the issue first on Saturday.

“There appears to be a deboosting effect in place too....so tweets mentioning those words get less views,” fae, who does not capitalise her name, tweeted.

“I can see no good reason for it and it feels petty to me and seems to be deliberately done to make life difficult for people at the queer end of the spectrum. That’s what it feels like,” she told Newsweek.

Users also pointed out that while the word “gay” does not appear in DMs, the homophobic slur “f*****” passed this filter and appeared in the preview pane.

The term “gender identity” also seemed to be blocked out in the preview while the controversial “gender ideology” was allowed.

The alleged censorship could be bypassed by replacing some letters in the words with symbols or numbers.

“We don’t encourage others to use punctuation to avoid the filters – it makes this site even more inaccessible for screen reader users. Other misspellings affect those with dyslexia,” Trans Media Watch tweeted.

While the tweets containing these words themselves are not banned on the platform, the company’s approach to selecting which tweets can appear with a preview pane in direct messages might be a new content moderation approach.

Mr Musk has previously been accused of amplifying anti-trans bigotry more than once.

Last year, he liked a Twitter post from a notorious right-wing account that targets members of the transgender community for abuse, and he also mocked the use of pronouns saying his were “prosecute/Fauci”.

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