Twitter appears to limit visibility of tweets containing words like 'trans,' 'gay,' and 'queer' sent over DM

Twitter appears to limit visibility of tweets containing words like 'trans,' 'gay,' and 'queer' sent over DM
Insider tweeted words describing sexual orientation and gender identity and sent them via direct message. Tweets with words like "gay," "bisexual," "lesbian," and "trans" showed up as URLs, while a test tweet, and one containing the word "bisexuality" appeared in an easier-to-read format.Samantha Delouya/Twitter
  • Twitter is appearing to limit the visibility of tweets that include terms to describe gender identity and sexual orientation.
  • In DMs, tweets with the words "gay," "queer," and "trans" showed up as URLs; others populated into an easier-to-read format.

Twitter appears to be making it more challenging to see specific tweets sent via direct message.

The apparent quirk was first spotted by Twitter users who said the company had made it more difficult to view tweets sent by direct message that describe sexual orientation and gender identity.

Insider conducted a test to verify the claims by using a Twitter account to tweet sentences like, "Here's a test tweet that has the word gay in it," to see which tweets populate into previews in direct messages.

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Axios reporter Ina Fried earlier called attention to the apparent limiting of visibility of certain topics in DMs.

In Insider's test tweets that included the words "trans," "transgender," "gay," "lesbian," "queer," "bisexual," and "intersex," the messages appeared as a URL link rather than in a preview format. The one exception was the word "bisexuality," which showed up as an easier-to-read tweet preview.


As part of the test, Insider also sent 2 additional test tweets: one containing the word "guns" and one that included the word "drugs." "Guns" appeared as a URL, similar to the LGBTQ+ terminology, though "drugs" populated as a preview message.

Twitter did not immediately respond to a request for comment, nor did the company confirm whether the apparent direct message bug was an intentional choice.

Elon Musk, the social media site's owner, has in the past called himself a "free speech absolutist" and often criticized content moderation and censorship on social media sites before purchasing Twitter for $44 billion last year.

While the tweets containing these words are not outright banned, the social media giant's approach to selecting which tweets can appear as previews in private messages could be a new form of content moderation under Musk's leadership.

Musk has waded into controversy regarding the transgender community more than once, most notably in 2020 when Musk tweeted (and later deleted) "pronouns suck," likely referring to people's preferences for what pronouns they use.