snitch-tagging

or snitch tagging

[snich-tag-ing]

What does snitch-tagging mean?

Snitch-tagging is the act of tagging the subject of a negative post about them, especially on Twitter, that they weren't already tagged in (e.g., a subtweet).

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It ensures the subject is aware of the criticism.

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Examples of snitch-tagging

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Examples of snitch-tagging
People, before you go snitch tagging please remember that some of this moron’s followers are dangerous extremists & there’s a reason I didn’t @ him
@JessicaValenti, February, 2019
The case against snitch tagging is simple. If we wanted to alert someone that we were being shady about, we would tag them. That's what tagging is for. Twitter has built a whole robust system of it, with @ mentions and hashtags and photo tags. If we didn't tag them, you can bet your sabotaging ass we want to shit talk that person with our friends but we don't want to start DRAMA™ by looping them in the convo.
MJ Franklin, Mashable October, 2018
@ItsTheBrandi / Katie McVay / Boldomatic

Where does snitch-tagging come from?

NicholasWashington / Tenor

Snitch-tagging combines snitch, a negative word for an “informer” or “tattletale,” with tagging, or “identifying someone on social media,” usually by use of the @ symbol followed by the username.

Here’s a scenario to explain snitch-tagging. Let’s say you are talking trash, throwing shade, or otherwise subtweeting someone on Twitter. You want to complain about that person but don’t want them to know, so you don’t tag them, or mention them directly so they are alerted to it. Snitch-tagging happens when another person then responds to your post tagging that person. This effectively snitches on you and airs your shady comment, as if to say, “Hey, this dude is talking about you behind your back!” Ouch.

On Twitter, calling out users who tag others to snitch on them is evidenced as early as 2010 (e.g., Why is this snitch tagging me?).

The practice was called snitch-tagging as early as October 2014 by user @DubPeeWorld.

Sports writer Jesse Spector brought wider attention to snitch-tagging in August 2015 when he called out a user snitch-tagging him.

After being entered on Urban Dictionary in 2017, snitch-tagging was further popularized by legal analyst Imani Gandy, @AngryBlackLady, who decried the practice after a user snitch-tagged her subtweet of Donald Trump.

Who uses snitch-tagging?

No one likes a snitch, as they say—and no one likes a snitch-tagger either. Snitch-tagging is considered cowardly, disrespectful, and aggressive, especially because it can invite dog-piling. It is typically called out or criticized as such on Twitter.

Popular artists and authors, as well as politicians and other celebrities, are often the subject of snitch-tagging. Such high-profile users like to issue PSAs bemoaning the practice and the harm it can do to their mental health.

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