A new Twitter update will enable users to see if they’ve been “shadow banned,” Elon Musk announced Thursday — after a second “Twitter Files” installment purportedly showed the social media giant used the suppression tactic on a number of high-profile conservative voices.
“Twitter is working on a software update that will show your true account status, so you know clearly if you’ve been shadowbanned, the reason why and how to appeal,” Musk tweeted Thursday.
Musk revealed the update soon after independent journalist Bari Weiss shared a series of tweets detailing how Twitter for years has shadow banned, or blacklisted accounts without the user’s knowledge.
The majority of censored accounts belonged to conservative and far-right users, Weiss said.
The social media company would allegedly tag the accounts with “trends blacklist,” “search blacklist,” “do not amplify” and other toggles to prevent their tweets from reaching a wider audience.
Some of the accounts Weiss referenced — including Conservative talk show host Dan Bongino, Stanford University’s anti-COVID lockdown advocate Dr. Jay Bhattacharya, and right-wing activist Charlie Kirk — had additional flags, such as “NSFW view” and “recent abuse strike.”
Weiss did not clarify whether the accounts were suppressed as a form of punishment for spreading misinformation, inappropriate content or another reason.
Former Twitter executives have denied shadow-banning accounts for years, but employees told Weiss the company engaged in “visibility filtering,” which limited some user’s content from appearing in searches or on the trending page.
“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 wrote.
Weiss said one such account, LibsofTikTok, was so popular that it was designated a team of executives to decide how to suppress its content, resulting in several account suspensions.
The account’s moderator, Chaya Raichik, asked Musk Thursday when her account will be “fixed.”
“Looking into it,” he responded.
Musk did not provide more details on what the software update would look like or a timeline for its rollout.