Twitter Files Part Two: Elon Musk Announces Software Update To Show If Users Are ‘Shadowbanned’

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Twitter CEO Elon Musk on Wednesday announced that the social media platform is working on a software update that will display users’ true account status clearly stating if the user is shadowbanned. This comes after he released the second installment of much-talked-about ‘Twitter Files’.

He mentioned that the new update will also allow users to see ‘why’ their accounts have been shadowbanned and how they can appeal against it.

“Twitter is working on a software update that will show your true account status, so you know clearly if you’ve been shadowbanned, the reason why and how to appeal,” tweeted Musk. 

Musk unveiled the second part of Twitter files citing the link to the account of journalist Bari Weiss, who posted a series of tweets revealing through her posts how Twitter used so-called “shadow banning” to limit the visibility of posts coming from far-right users.

The tweets from Bari Weiss revealed how the company was secretly “blacklisting” conservative tweets and users.

“A new [Twitter Files] investigation reveals that teams of Twitter employees build blacklists, prevent disfavored tweets from trending, and actively limit the visibility of entire accounts or even trending topics — all in secret, without informing users,” Weiss tweeted on Thursday.

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Some of the accounts targeted include conservative talk show host Dan Bongino, Stanford University’s anti-COVID lockdown advocate Dr Jay Bhattacharya, and right-wing activist Charlie Kirk as mentioned in tweets.

One of the tweets mentioned Standford University’s Dr Jay Bhattacharya, who argued that Covid lockdowns would harm children, was put on a “Trends Blacklist” that prevented his tweets from trending.

She also said the company deviated from its original idea of giving “everyone the power to create and share ideas and information instantly, without barriers” by developing the methods to suppress specific individuals.

Twitter also invoked popular American right-wing talk show host, Dan Bongino, with a “Search Blacklist”. Even the account of conservative activist Charlie Kirk was set to “Do Not Amplify”.

Weiss also noted that Twitter had denied that it does such things. “In 2018, Twitter’s Vijaya Gadde (then Head of Legal Policy and Trust) and Kayvon Beykpour (Head of Product) had said, “We do not shadow ban.” They added: “And we certainly don’t shadow ban based on political viewpoints or ideology.”

Another interesting revelation made by Weiss is that Twitter engaged in “shadow banning” by curtailing the reach of certain users.

“What many people call “shadow banning,” Twitter executives and employees call “Visibility Filtering” or “VF.” Multiple high-level sources confirmed its meaning,” Weiss said.


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