The second installment of Elon Musk’s “Twitter Files” revealed that the company’s former staff were secretly “blacklisting” conservative tweets and users.
Independent journalist Bari Weiss discussed in a series of posts how Twitter used “shadow banning” to limit the visibility of tweets and entire accounts without users’ knowledge.
1. A new #TwitterFiles 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.
— Bari Weiss (@bariweiss) December 9, 2022
Conservative talk show host Dan Bongino, Stanford University’s anti-COVID lockdown advocate Dr. Jay Bhattacharya, and conservative activist Charlie Kirk were among some of the users targeted for suppression by Twitter, according to Weiss.
Weiss reported that the blacklists were built “in secret” and “without informing users.”
Weiss stated that Twitter strayed from its original mission of giving “everyone the power to create and share ideas and information instantly, without barriers” by developing methods to suppress specific individuals and/or ideas.
Weiss stated, “Take, for example, Stanford’s Dr. Jay Bhattacharya who argued that Covid lockdowns would harm children. Twitter secretly placed him on a ‘Trends Blacklist,’ which prevented his tweets from trending.”
Weiss then shared an image of his account from Twitter’s point of view with “Recent Abuse Strike” and “Trends Blacklist” highlighted in yellow, indicating the restriction.
“Or consider the popular right-wing talk show host, Dan Bongino who at one point was slapped with a ‘Search Blacklist,’” Weiss continued.
Weiss continued to list the oppression of the company, saying, ”Twitter set the account of conservative activist Charlie Kirk to ‘Do Not Amplify.’”
Twitter has vehemently denied that it “shadow bans” users.
However, Last week, former Twitter head of trust and safety Yoel Roth admitted during an interview that it was wrong to suppress The Post’s reporting and said that “for me, it didn’t reach a place where I was comfortable removing this content from Twitter.”
On Tuesday, Musk announced that he fired Twitter deputy general and former top FBI lawyer Jim Baker over his “possible role in suppression of information important to the public dialogue.”