Twitter’s shadow-banning exposed in latest ‘Twitter Files’ release

Twitter kept “secret blacklists” of conservatives who employees were directed to censor under the company’s previous owners, according to the latest release of internal documents shared by Elon Musk.

Inside of Twitter, the method of censorship known as shadow-banning goes by the euphemism “visibility filtering,” journalist Bari Weiss reported in a lengthy Twitter thread.

Twitter’s shadow-banning exposed

As one employee put it to Weiss, “We control visibility quite a bit. And we control the amplification of your content quite a bit. And normal people do not know how much we do.”

Weiss shared photos from Twitter’s internal system with labels attached to certain users targeted for censorship.

Dr. Jay Bhattacharya, a Stanford professor known for advocating alternatives to Dr. Fauci’s lockdowns, was placed on a “trends blacklist,” conservative activist Charlie Kirk was tagged “Do Not Amplify,” and conservative personality Dan Bongino was put on a “search blacklist.”

 

Liberal gaslighting continues

Musk previously exposed internal Twitter e-mails showing the company’s top employees privately doubted they had good cause to block the Hunter Biden laptop scandal before the 2020 election but did so anyway.

Democrats and left-leaning journalists have dismissed the Twitter Files as old news, but the left has long dismissed “conspiracy theorists” on the right who complained of political censorship on Twitter. Thanks to Musk, there is now conclusive proof of these suspicions.

Twitter had a special team dedicated to shadow-banning called the Strategic Response Team – Global Escalation Team, Weiss said, and a secret oversight board of top executives called the Site Integrity Policy, Policy Escalation Support (SIP-PES) which handled the most high-profile users.

These included Libs Of Tik Tok, which became enormously popular for highlighting the deranged excesses of woke ideology. The account, which has over 1 million followers, was placed on a “Trends Blacklist” and employees were directed, “Do Not Take Action on User Without Consulting With SIP-PES.”

Musk teases major reform

The account was also suspended seven times despite never directly violating Twitter’s “Hateful Conduct” policy. Twitter rationalized the bans by claiming Libs Of TikTok encouraged “harassment” with charged language like “child abuse” and “grooming” to describe what liberals call “gender-affirming care.”

But Twitter was not concerned with harassment when the woman behind Libs Of TikTok was doxxed. A photo of her home with an address is still on Twitter, Weiss noted.

Weiss also shared Slack messages from Twitter’s former Head of Trust and Safety Yoel Roth, who advocated “visibility filtering” to police so-called “misinformation.”

“The hypothesis underlying much of what we’ve implemented is that if exposure to, e.g., misinformation directly causes harm, we should use remediations that reduce exposure, and limiting the spread/virality of content is a good way to do that,” he wrote.

Musk said Thursday that 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.”