A new batch of internal Twitter communication records released on Thursday confirm the tech giant has been shadowbanning prominent conservative accounts without users’ knowledge for years, despite former CEO Jack Dorsey previously claiming otherwise.
Released by Bari Weiss, editor of The Free Press, the new “Twitter Files” reveal the company created blacklists designed to prevent certain accounts or posts from trending. Lists were also built to limit the visibility of accounts or tweets Twitter employees deemed unfavorable.
Among the most notable accounts targeted by the platform were prominent conservative figures such as Dan Bongino and Charlie Kirk, with the former’s profile being placed on a “Search Blacklist” and the latter’s being switched to a setting called “Do Not Amplify.” Medical professionals were also censored, with Twitter putting the account of Stanford University’s Jay Bhattacharya, one of the authors of the “Great Barrington Declaration,” on a “Trends Blacklist,” which “prevented his tweets from trending.”
Commonly known as shadowbanning, the concept of secretly limiting the reach of users’ accounts and posts was referred to by Twitter executives as “visibility filtering.” According to a senior Twitter employee who spoke with Weiss, visibility filtering is “a way for [the company] to suppress what people see to different levels.”
“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 engineer separately revealed.
Federalist CEO and co-founder Sean Davis has also been among those censored, with his Twitter account having been shadowbanned since January 2021.
Thursday night’s revelations show former Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey to be a complete liar about the company’s censorship practices. When asked in a post by political commentator Dave Rubin in October 2020 if Twitter shadowbans “based on political beliefs,” Dorsey responded with a straightforward, “No.”
The company also put out a blog post in July 2018, in which it claimed Twitter doesn’t shadowban “based on political viewpoints or ideology” and said users “are always able to see the tweets from accounts [they] follow.”
While the group known as the Strategic Response Team – Global Escalation Team made everyday decisions about censorship of certain users and posts, it was a secret cabal of high-level Twitter executives called the Site Integrity Policy, Policy Escalation Support (SIP-PES) who made “the biggest, most politically sensitive decisions” regarding shadowbanning. According to Weiss, SIP-PES was comprised of former CEOs Dorsey and Parag Agrawal; the former head of legal, policy, and trust Vijaya Gadde; and the global head of trust and safety Yoel Roth, among others.
Included in the list of accounts targeted by the group was “Libs of TikTok,” a profile dedicated to reposting TikTok videos of crazed leftist educators. In addition to being placed on a “Trends Blacklist,” the account was designated as “Do Not Take Action on User Without Consulting With SIP-PES.”
“Twitter repeatedly informed [the account owner] that she had been suspended for violating Twitter’s policy against ‘hateful conduct,'” Weiss wrote. “But in an internal SIP-PES memo from October 2022, after her seventh suspension, the committee acknowledged that ‘LTT has not directly engaged in behavior violative of the Hateful Conduct policy'” and “justified her suspensions internally by claiming her posts encouraged online harassment of ‘hospitals and medical providers’ by insinuating ‘that gender-affirming healthcare is equivalent to child abuse or grooming.'”
When the Libs of TikTok account owner was doxxed and had a photo of her home “with her address” posted on the platform, however, Twitter Support declined to remove the tweet, claiming it didn’t violate Twitter rules.
The bombshell revelations come days after a separate trove of documents released by journalist Matt Taibbi confirmed the company suppressed the New York Post’s Hunter Biden laptop story before the 2020 presidential election.