The second instalment of the ‘Twitter Files’ was shared on the social medial platform, revealing chilling details of the company’s policies of “secretly blacklisting” the tweets of certain users, especially of those ascribing to the right-wing ideology, before Elon Musk took over.
The ‘Twitter Files’ are a cache of internal documents and communications of Twitter Inc., from 2020 shared by owner Elon Musk with journalists Matt Taibbi and Bari Weiss.
The first instalment of Twitter Files was shared last week by Taibbi that shed insight light on Twitter’s deliberate attempt to suppress the Hunter Biden laptop story during the 2020 presidential election.
On Thursday, it was Weiss’s turn to share the second part of the dark policies undertaken by Twitter.
“A new #TwitterFiles investigation reveals that teams of Twitter employees build blacklists, prevent disfavoured tweets from trending, and actively limit the visibility of entire accounts or even trending topics—all in secret, without informing users,” Weiss said on her Twitter thread.
“Twitter once had a mission ‘to give everyone the power to create and share ideas and information instantly, without barriers.’ Along the way, barriers nevertheless were erected,” Weiss stated.
Here’s what Weiss revealed:
1 ) Weiss shared a screenshot showing how Twitter shadow banned the opinion of Stanford’s Dr Jay Bhattacharya who was opposed to the COVID-19 lockdown.
2 ) In another screenshot, Weiss showed how popular right-wing talk show host Dan Bongino at one point was slapped with a “Search Blacklist” and Twitter had Turning Point USA’s Charlie Kirk on “Do Not Amplify.”
3 ) Weiss argued that the Twitter had initially denied suppressing the voice of certain users.
4) In 2018, Twitter’s Vijaya Gadde (then Head of Legal Policy and Trust) and Kayvon Beykpour (Head of Product) said: “We do not shadow ban.” They added: “And we certainly don’t shadow ban based on political viewpoints or ideology.”
4 ) Weiss, citing sources, further claimed that Twitter executives and employees used “shadow banning process” or “Visibility Filtering (VF)” to supress the voices.
5 ) She claimed that Twitter used VF to block searches of individual users; to limit the scope of a particular tweet’s discoverability; to block select users’ posts from ever appearing on the “trending” page; and from inclusion in hashtag searches.
6) “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,” one Twitter engineer told Weiss.