Everything seems to be coming out of the closet after Elon Musk stunned the world with his purchase of Twitter.
As Jennifer Van Laar reported on Tuesday evening, Project Veritas obtained audio of Twitter’s “all-call” meeting following the blockbuster deal. RedState first reported the results of it on Monday, noting the fear and dread pointed toward Musk’s acquisition.
Now, Project Veritas has dropped another very interesting piece of information, this time on Twitter’s alleged practice of “shadow-banning,” which essentially just means throttling an account’s reach and visibility. I’ll get to why this is important in a moment, but here’s the video Project Veritas put out of Twitter employees discussing the practice and its existence.
If you watch the video, what you’ll see is one employee asking about whether shadow-banning can happen and if it’s something that is done. In a coy manner, the other employee makes a semantical argument over how the company defines shadow-banning. This is an obvious indicator that the employees are not using the term but calling it something else. Then, it is admitted that “yes, we can reduce visibility on surfaces.”
What’s fascinating about this is that Twitter founder Jack Dorsey once testified before Congress that shadow-banning was a “bug,” and that the accounts that were targeted were done so unintentionally. In 2018, the claims of shadow-banning were made again by Jack Dorsey, then-CEO.
Twitter’s supposed account shadow banning, which the company says was a bug, was “unfairly filtering 600,000 accounts, including some members of Congress” in search auto-complete and results. The figure was confirmed by CEO Jack Dorsey during Wednesday’s opening address to the House Energy and Commerce Committee; Dorsey shared his statement. a thread of tweets.
Dorsey stated that shadow banning happened because algorithms take into consideration how users who are following filtered accounts on Twitter. Ultimately, Twitter determined that wasn’t a fair way to assess accounts, and changed course. “We’ll always improve our technology and algorithms to drive healthier usage, and measure the impartiality of outcomes,” he said.
Yet, the leaked Slack conversation posted by Project Veritas exposes the fact that shadow-banning is not an inadvertent “bug,” but that it exists as an offensive capability of Twitter. Was Dorsey lying to Congress? Certainly, he’s not going to be punished for it if he did (only Trump associates have to play by those rules), but it’s still fun to see this stuff brought to light.
Many conservative accounts noticed a decrease in followers and engagement over years. Those on the opposite side have dismissed shadow-banning allegations as conspiracy theories. The suspicions seem to be justified, however.
It’s also worth noting that after Musk bought Twitter, there seemed to be a change in the algorithm, resulting in large follower and engagement bumps for many conservative accounts. My account is on the smaller end (14.8K followers), but I’ve picked up several hundred just in the last 24 hours. Why does this suddenly happen, before Musk actually takes complete control of the account? Some are suggesting that it’s the current Twitter regime trying to cover their tracks, getting rid of the shadow bans and throttling algorithms, so Musk can’t expose what they’ve been doing.
Whatever the case, it seems that the biggest social media company in the world has seen the dawning of a new era of free speech. These are exciting times.