Conservative Twitter users have finally been vindicated.
Thursday night, former New York Times columnist Bari Weiss released the second installment of the “Twitter files,” Elon Musk’s purging of Twitter’s private failures in hopes of rebuilding trust in the platforms.
Throughout the Twitter thread, Weiss revealed how the platform previously sought to silence and suppress some conservative users and accounts by placing them on “blacklists” and flagging particular information.
Images appeared to show that several of the accounts had been flagged with “Recent Abuse Strike” and that more basic information, such as when the accounts were “Twitter Blue Verified” or “High Profile,” had also been noted.
Jay Bhattacharya, a health policy professor from Stanford University who opposed COVID-19 lockdowns, appeared to have been placed on a “Trends Blacklist,” as was the right-wing Libs of TikTok account, according to the photos.
The account of conservative commentator Dan Bongino was placed on a “Search Blacklist,” while the photos showed Turning Point USA President Charlie Kirk had his account marked as “Do Not Amplify.”
Weiss also noted that Twitter previously denied depressing particular accounts. In 2018, Twitter’s then-Head of Legal Policy and Trust, Vijaya Gadde, along with then-Head of Product, Kayvon Beykpour said, “We do not shadow ban.” They added: “And we certainly don’t shadow ban based on political viewpoints or ideology.”
Thursday evening, Musk responded to users’ concerns and said he plans to release a new feature to combat “shadowban” concerns.
“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.
“Most engineers don’t feel strongly about politics, but do want to work with other great engineers,” Musk added. “Silicon Valley has world’s best engineering talent, but is co-located with San Francisco, which is far left. Thus, far left gained control of an incredibly powerful info weapon.”
Musk also responded to a question about whether “any political candidates — either in the US or elsewhere — [were] subject to shadowbanning while they were running for office or seeking re-election” by answering, “Yes.”