In a statement released Thursday on Twitter’s company blog, executives from the social media giant admit they do, in fact, shadowban certain accounts.
In the blog post written by the company’s legal, policy, trust and safety lead, Vijaya Gadde and Kayvon Beykpour, their product lead, they state: “You are always able to see the tweets from accounts you follow (although you may have to do more work to find them, like go directly to their profile).”
In other words, they shadowban.
The blog post describes shadowbanning as: “deliberately making someone’s content undiscoverable to everyone except the person who posted it, unbeknownst to the original poster.”
If you have to do any extra searching for one Twitter account over the other, is that not shadowbanning?
Ranking tweets and search results, according to the blog, is to maintain Twitter’s usefulness. “We must also address bad-faith actors who intend to manipulate or detract from healthy conversation,” the statement reads. The execs go onto detail what signals they use to determine bad-faith actors:
- Specific account properties that indicate authenticity (e.g. whether you have a confirmed email address, how recently your account was created, whether you uploaded a profile image, etc)
- What actions you take on Twitter (e.g. who you follow, who you retweet, etc)
- How other accounts interact with you (e.g. who mutes you, who follows you, who retweets you, who blocks you, etc)
They claim to be receiving fewer abuse reports and spam reports using this approach.
On Wednesday, a spokesperson from Twitter released this statement:
“We are aware that some accounts are not automatically populating in our search box and shipping a change to address this.” Asked why only conservative Republicans appear to be affected and not liberal Democrats, the spokesperson wrote: “I’d emphasize that our technology is based on account *behavior* not the content of Tweets.”
Back in January, James O’Keefe with Project Veritas caught several Twitter employees on hidden camera explaining how the shadowbanning works, and how they are purposefully targeting conservative accounts. Watch content review agents, policy managers for their “Trust & Safety” department and even direct messaging engineers describe the shadowban strategy and what type of content they’re wanting to suppress:
Twitter’s partisan behavior has caught the attention of many, including President Donald Trump, who tweeted on Thursday: “Twitter ‘SHADOW BANNING’ prominent Republicans. Not good. We will look into this discriminatory and illegal practice at once! Many complaints.”
Twitter clearly shot themselves in the foot with this response. What is the point of following someone if you don’t see their tweets in your timeline, but instead have to manually search for them, and sometimes that won’t even bring them up in the drop-down search box. Unless you have a list of handles that you enjoy, or a photographic memory, you have to go to someone’s page in order to see their content since it will be pushed down and not show up on the “home feed.”
Really makes one wonder, with the claim of Russian influence by manipulating the information one sees on social media, and the allegation that its considered meddling during an election, what’s the difference when Twitter does the same thing? Why should we not hold Twitter to the same standards and start an investigation into CEO Jack Dorsey and their questionable practices?
If they constantly suppress conservative thoughts and opinions under the guise of “controlling healthy conversation”, how is that different than the claims that Russians interfered in the election by manipulating the information that was visible on social media and its reach? With the mid-terms coming up, could this be part of the left’s plan to try to control how much of a reach conservatives have via social media?
Twitter, do the right thing and stop trying to suppress conservative voices. We’re all onto you. Also, you might want to proof read what your “Trust and Safety” team writes before its published. Just a thought.
Big League Politics has covered Twitter’s shadowbanning conservative accounts extensively:
Join the conversation!
We have no tolerance for comments containing violence, racism, profanity, vulgarity, doxing, or discourteous behavior. Thank you for partnering with us to maintain fruitful conversation.