If you’re a conservative and have an account on Twitter, chances are you’ve seen the effects of Twitter’s latest site-wide shadowban. Several conservatives keep up with their analytics on Twitter and are seeing a huge decline in interactions and engagements with their accounts.
Shadowbanning is a way of blocking users on social media platforms without notifying them. Tweets from a shadowbanned user still appear to those that follow them, but don’t show up in search results or anywhere else on Twitter. All the features under your account are essentially cut off, stopping all interactions from happening.
On Tuesday morning, members of the House Judiciary Committee gathered to question representatives from YouTube, Facebook and Twitter about their censorship algorithms and the filters used to bury conservative thoughts and opinions from the social media giants.
Twitter’s use of a site-wide “Quality Filter Discrimination” shadowban prevents accounts that are not already following certain prominent conservative accounts from viewing their posts all together. In May, filters that have existed on Twitter since August 2016 were boosted after a new terms of service agreement was implemented in what Twitter described as their plan to “improve the health of the public conversation on Twitter”.
Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey put out a tweet back in March that included their own graphic showing how the shadowban would be implemented:
The social media giant said, “We’re tackling issues of behaviors that distort and detract from the public conversation in those areas by integrating new behavioral signals into how tweets are presented. By using new tools to address this conduct from a behavioral perspective, we’re able to improve the health of the conversation, and everyone’s experience on Twitter, without waiting for people who use Twitter to report potential issues to us.”
According to Zero Hedge, Twitter VP of Trust & Safety, Del Harvey said that the filtering algorithm looks at things such as how often a user is blocked by other users, muted, or complained about vs. receiving positive interactions such as “favorites” and retweets.
“If you send the same message to four people, and two of them blocked you, and one reported you, we could assume without ever seeing what the content of the message was, that was generally a negative interaction,” Harvey said. He went on to say that the goal of the software was to HIDE tweets from “accounts that are having the maximum negative impact on the conversation.”
Possible reasons for the QFD (Quality Filter Discrimination) to be applied to your Twitter account include:
- Following people who have been reported too often
- Being blocked by too many people
- Frequent interaction (comment, like) with other accounts that have had QFD applied to their account
- Being reported by too many people, (even reports where Twitter doesn’t find you in violation)
- Following accounts that have been blocked by too many people
The account Gab.ai (@getongab) posted a tweet with the link where users can see if the “quality filter” has been applied to their account: https://shadowban.eu/ and encouraged users to comment with their results.
Most users are seeing something similar to this when they check to see their shadowban status:
To turn off the default quality filtering option, go into your Twitter notification settings as shown below–(Hat tip @getongab for the instructions!)
Kim Dot.com has been promoting a possible alternative to the social media giant with what he calls an “anti-censorship Twitter replacement”, which promises to “give you your voice back”.
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:
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