Elon Musk’s ‘Twitter Files’ part 2 unveils ‘secret blacklist’
A second installment of Elon Musk’s “Twitter Files” deciphers the social platform’s previous practices of secretly placing users and tweets under “blacklist.” Journalist Bari Weiss had already reported about Twitter’s censorship before Musk took over the company.
Released this past Friday, the first installment of “The Twitter Files,” by Matt Taibbi, has revealed interesting new information about why Twitter decided to suppress the Hunter Biden laptop story just before the 2020 presidential election.
Despite protests from conservatives that it was a move clearly motivated by political bias, Twitter at the time claimed they were enforcing their “hacked materials” policy that bans any stolen or hacked materials from being shared on its platform – but no evidence of hacking ever surfaced.
The Twitter Files, Part Deux!! 🍿🍿 https://t.co/bH9UiTSEK2
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) December 9, 2022
In light of the “Twitter Files” part two revelation, a new name came in, Bari Weiss. A former New York Times opinion editor, Bari Weiss now manages The Free Press. She started her thread of revelations on Twitter. Her source for her investigations is internal company documents.
She shared on social media how Twitter’s past management has restricted particular accounts, placing them under a “Trends Blacklist” and “Search Blacklist.” In addition, there’s also a “Do Not Amplify” tag.
Moreover, the female journalist also highlighted Fox News host Dan Bongino. He was on the “Search Blacklist.” Bongino tweeted reacting to these Twitter Files revelations. He said, “We ALWAYS knew we were a target of the Twitter suppression machine. ALWAYS.
Yet liberals insisted it was another ‘conspiracy theory.’ Tonight is vindication, yet I expect no apologies from liberals. They live to abuse power. They’ll make no apologies for doing so.” While Charlie Kirk of Turning Point USA is under the “Do Not Amplify.”
Twitter Secret Blacklists
Everyone at Twitter who lied to the Federal Election Commission needs to retain lawyers.
— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) December 6, 2022
Before Musk, Twitter informed the public about the limitations of reaching certain accounts. This leaves the accounts visible to followers, but their conversation presence and visibility in public searches have limits. The platform has received scrutiny for not practicing transparency and notifying users of account limitations.
Weiss began her thread on Twitter by saying, “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.
The social platform 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.”
16. One of the accounts that rose to this level of scrutiny was @libsoftiktok—an account that was on the “Trends Blacklist” and was designated as “Do Not Take Action on User Without Consulting With SIP-PES.” pic.twitter.com/Vjo6YxYbxT
— Bari Weiss (@bariweiss) December 9, 2022
In her thread, she also mentioned some of the blacklisted personalities. One of which is a Stanford University professor, Jay Bhattacharya. He is one of the top critics of COVID-19 lockdowns. Also on the secret blacklist is Charlie Kirk.
He owns the famous “Libs of TikTok” account and is a known conservative activist. His account comprises mock content and reposts of the LGBTQ community and Liberals.
In addition, Weiss also mentioned a statement by an unnamed Twitter engineer. “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.” She also revealed that the Twitter team “Site Integrity Policy, Policy Escalation Support” make the most politically sensitive decisions.
Bari Weiss Revelations
Part of Weiss’s “Twitter Files” revelations is the normal term “shadow banning.” It’s a term referring to silencing Twitter users without them knowing. Twitter executives referred to the shadowing as “Visibility Filtering” or “VF.” Weiss tweeted, “‘VF’ refers to Twitter’s control over user visibility.
It used VF to block searches of individual users; limit the scope of a particular tweet’s discoverability; block select users’ posts from ever appearing on the ‘trending’ page, and from inclusion in hashtag searches. All without users’ knowledge.”
— Larry Elder (@larryelder) December 9, 2022
Twitter’s former head of product, Kayvon Beykpour, disproves Weiss’ descriptions of the company’s policies. He said they never denied ranking accounts, but they completely reject “shadow banning” claims. Beykpour tweeted, “You are characterizing any de-amplification as equating to shadow banning, which is either a lazy interpretation or deliberately misleading.”
Elon Musk’s sharing of internal Twitter documents with Matt Taibbi is a unique act of transparency. Given the platform’s well-documented bias issues. By collaborating with independent journalists to reveal the “Twitter Files” hidden in the past, Musk appears to be taking a stand for free speech. He claims to strongly favor it while simultaneously opening up the platform to scrutiny and greater accountability.
Elon Musk on Content Moderation
After all, knowledge is power. Exposing its inner workings may bring much-needed checks. Transparency could help ensure proper content moderation on the website. Weiss’s decision to share such information can only further this cause while also demonstrating that change begins with honest conversations.
— Rep. Jim Jordan (@Jim_Jordan) December 6, 2022
On Friday, Musk tweeted an update on working to “show your true account status, so you know clearly if you’ve been shadowbanned, why and how to appeal.”
Weiss’s claims on Friday surrounding Twitter’s alleged liberal bias sparked a heated debate online. Those on the right jumped at the chance to voice the inequalities they claimed to exist. While many on the left accused her of exaggerating an unimportant issue. The leftists also said she is providing publicity for world-renowned billionaire Elon Musk and his company.