Twitter has been accused of censoring certain terms associated with the LGBTQI+ community on its platform, sparking concerns among users and activists. On Saturday, 1 April, Twitter users noticed that tweet previews in direct messages (DMs) were not showing up for tweets containing words such as “trans”, “LGBT”, “LGBT+” and “BLM” (Black Lives Matter). Instead, users were only seeing a plain link.
What’s more alarming is that tweets containing slurs that are widely regarded as derogatory by the LGBTQI+ community, such as “trans-identified” and “t***n”, are still previewing as normal. Tweets mentioning the trans-exclusionary term “LGB” also seem to be unaffected. Trans Safety Network, a UK-based advocacy group, has also reported that early testing indicates that tweets containing certain words are being “deboosted” by the platform. These words include “trans”, “gay”, “lesbian”, “queer” and “bisexual”.
This apparent censorship on Twitter has sparked concerns among users and activists, who fear that it could lead to the silencing of important conversations and the marginalization of already vulnerable communities. It’s worth noting that Twitter has been criticized before for its handling of LGBTQI+ issues, with some users reporting instances of hate speech and harassment on the platform.
Twitter has yet to comment on the situation, but it is expected that the company will face pressure to address the concerns being raised by users and advocacy groups. The incident has once again highlighted the importance of ensuring that social media platforms like Twitter do not inadvertently or intentionally suppress important conversations and voices within the LGBTQI+ community.