On Thursday night, journalist Bari Weiss published the most recent round of confidential business information. After the first Twitter Files edition last week failed to support the widely held belief that the U.S. government was involved in the suppression of a report concerning Hunter Biden’s laptop, the former New York Times writer delved into further detail.
Weiss tweeted, “A new [Twitter Files] 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.”
Weiss provided photographs of what seem to be screenshots from within Twitter’s system, which identified users like medical expert Dr. Jay Bhattacharya and political analyst Dan Bongino with tags that reportedly show constraints on the account. For example, Bongino was labelled with a “Search Blacklist” tag at some time in the past.
Charlie Kirk, the creator of Turning Point USA, was marked with many labels, including “Do Not Amplify.”
Weiss described this as “shadowbanning,” a process in which social media networks restrict a social media account’s exposure without notifying the account owner.
Weiss claims that this tactic of labelling or restricting accounts was known among Twitter staff as “visibility filtering.”
One Twitter official told Weiss, “Think about visibility filtering as being a mechanism for us to reduce what people see to various degrees. Other staff verified that they strive to regulate the exposure of material.
Weiss also identified Twitter departments that make judgments on content moderation.
Largely problematic accounts like Libs of TikTok were managed by a group called “Site Integrity Policy, Policy Escalation Support,” or SIP-PES, which was supervised by many influential Twitter officials.
At least six times in 2022, Twitter has already suspended Libs of TikTok. Although the SIP-PES team could not discover any tweets that specifically contravened the company’s regulations, they were able to justify the team’s continued bans by claiming that the material had served as an inspiration for the harassment of children’s hospitals.
Weiss views content restrictions as a novel discovery, although Twitter has made it clear in its Help Center that it will restrict an account’s reach if it finds “abuse or manipulation” of the service. Additionally, Musk has said that rather than completely removing hate speech, he wants to stop it from spreading.
The first batch of the Twitter Files focused on examining how the website handled the banning on a New York Post article concerning Hunter Biden’s laptop. Multiple screenshots of private communications between Twitter workers and officials from the Biden administration or the Democratic National Committee over certain postings could be seen in the data given to writer Matt Taibbi. These include messages and pictures of Hunter Biden being exposed.
In reaction to the publication of the Twitter Files, Bongino remarked on Fox News’ Hannity on Thursday, “This is some Soviet-style bulls***.” He added the blacklist designation validates what he had known about “the mass shadow-banning of conservatives.”
It is unknown when Twitter will implement a software upgrade that will “show your true account status, so you know clearly whether you’ve been shadowbanned, the reason why, and how to appeal,” according to Musk’s response to the release of the data.
Musk had before claimed that the federal government and Twitter had spoken about the removal of tweets, but Taibbi said that he had uncovered no proof that federal authorities had instructed Twitter to remove the New York Post piece. Instead, the FBI had sent hazy alerts to them concerning foreign activity.