Elon Musk Lets Loose Another Batch Of Twitter Files That Point To Existence Of 'Secret Blacklists'

Zinger Key Points
  • Shadow Banning was known internally by Twitter employees as visibility filtering.
  • Filtering was enforced by a team dedicated for the purpose, a higher level that included Jack Dorsey existed.
  • People affected by blacklists included Jay Bhattacharya, Dan Bongino and Charlie Kirk.
Elon Musk Lets Loose Another Batch Of Twitter Files That Point To Existence Of 'Secret Blacklists'

Twitter CEO Elon Musk has made public the second tranche of “Twitter Files” that point to the existence of secret blacklists which kept certain disfavored tweets from trending.

What Happened: Musk retweeted a thread from the journalist Bari Weiss who shared excerpts from the files. The entrepreneur also posted popcorn emoji to insinuate his anticipation of the forthcoming drama.

Weiss said that investigation revealed that Twitter employees build blacklists to “actively limit the visibility of entire accounts or even trending topics—all in secret, without informing users.”

People subject to these lists included Jay Bhattacharya who argued that COVID-19 lockdowns were harmful to children. Others included right-wing talk show host Dan Bongino and conservative activist Charlie Kirk.

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Why It Matters: Weiss said what is colloquially known as “Shadow Banning” was referred to by Twitter employees as “Visibility Filtering.” She quoted a Twitter employee as saying that it was a very “powerful tool.”

“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,” a Twitter employee told Weiss.

This filtering was enforced by a team called "Strategic Response Team - Global Escalation Team", or "SRT-GET." There was also a level beyond this type of “rank-and-file” moderation which was enforced by the “Site Integrity Policy, Policy Escalation Support,” known as “SIP-PES,” according to Weiss.

SIP-PES was a secret group made up of Vijaya Gadde, Twitter’s former legal head, Yoel Roth, the former global head of trust & safety and subsequent CEOs, Jack Dorsey and Parag Agrawal, among others.

Weiss said one of the accounts that faced scrutiny from SIP-PES was the Chaya Raichik-run @libsoftiktok, which was designated as “Do Not Take Action on User Without Consulting With SIP-PES.”
 

Notably, Roth said Dorsey was brought on board for implementing more research to support the expansion of “non-removal policy interventions like disabling engagements and deamplification/visibility filtering,” according to Weiss.

The journalist highlighted the contrast between Raichik’s multiple suspensions for “hateful conduct” and the non-action from Twitter on a tweet that doxxed her home address. Weiss said there will be more to the story that will come in the future.

Musk said this week that the most important data was hidden from Dorsey after the latter demanded the release of all Twitter files “without filter.”

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Posted In: Bari WeissElon MuskJack DorseyParag AgrawaltwitterTwitter FilesNewsSocial MediaTop StoriesTechGeneral