Twitter Files: The Shadowbanning Cabal

Twitter Files: The Shadowbanning Cabal

Twitter Files: The Shadowbanning Cabal

After the revelations from the first installment of the Twitter Files from Matt Taibbi were published, part two took a bit longer to be released. This was due to journalist Bari Weiss, who was in charge of reviewing the files for that second part, discovering that former FBI lawyer Jim Baker, who had been hired on at Twitter in 2020, had been reviewing the files himself.

We all know what happened next. Elon Musk fired Jim Baker, and while we don’t know exactly what Baker did when he had access to the files, Bari Weiss opened up the Twitter Files on Thursday night with the story of the Shadowbanning Cabal. Remember how conservatives were told repeatedly that there was no such thing as “shadowbanning,” and only crazy conspiracy theorists believed that? Gaslighting 101.

Twitter even had a special name for the shadowbanning practice – “visibility filtering.” My, how Orwellian does THAT sound?

Twitter denied that it does such things. In 2018, Twitter’s Vijaya Gadde (then Head of Legal Policy and Trust) and Kayvon Beykpour (Head of Product) said: “We do not shadow ban.” They added: “And we certainly don’t shadow ban based on political viewpoints or ideology.”

What many people call “shadow banning,” Twitter executives and employees call “Visibility Filtering” or “VF.” Multiple high-level sources confirmed its meaning.”

“Think about visibility filtering as being a way for us to suppress what people see to different levels. It’s a very powerful tool,” one senior Twitter employee told us.”

“VF” refers to Twitter’s control over user visibility. It used VF to block searches of individual users; to limit the scope of a particular tweet’s discoverability; to block select users’ posts from ever appearing on the “trending” page; and from inclusion in hashtag searches.”

All without users’ knowledge.”

“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,” one Twitter engineer told us. Two additional Twitter employees confirmed.”

The group that decided whether to limit the reach of certain users was the Strategic Response Team – Global Escalation Team, or SRT-GET. It often handled up to 200 “cases” a day.”

And who was in charge of the shadowbanning? You’ll never guess.

But there existed a level beyond official ticketing, beyond the rank-and-file moderators following the company’s policy on paper. That is the “Site Integrity Policy, Policy Escalation Support,” known as “SIP-PES.”

This secret group included Head of Legal, Policy, and Trust (Vijaya Gadde), the Global Head of Trust & Safety (Yoel Roth), subsequent CEOs Jack Dorsey and Parag Agrawal, and others.”

This is where the biggest, most politically sensitive decisions got made. “Think high follower account, controversial,” another Twitter employee told us. For these “there would be no ticket or anything.”

Oh, wow, I’m shocked, SHOCKED, to see Vijaya Gadde and Yoel Roth once again making decisions on who to restrict and who to ban, and making sure that there was NO paper trail involved. Oh, and how nice to see Jack Dorsey and Parag Agrawal in on this as well. I guess Dorsey didn’t mind getting his hands dirty when it came to sooper-seekrit groups with no official documentation.

Weiss goes on to discuss a well-known target of the former Twitter management – the “Libs of TikTok” account. We already knew that old Twitter management did not give two shits about the woman behind “Libs of TikTok” being threatened or doxxed on their platform. The “Libs of TikTok” account used to be constantly suspended from Twitter for “hateful conduct.” Everyone, INCLUDING the secret shadowbanning group, knew that it wasn’t “hateful conduct.” They were just trying to find a way to silence the account.

The committee 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.”

Compare this to what happened when Raichik herself was doxxed on November 21, 2022. A photo of her home with her address was posted in a tweet that has garnered more than 10,000 likes.”

When Raichik told Twitter that her address had been disseminated she says Twitter Support responded with this message: “We reviewed the reported content, and didn’t find it to be in violation of the Twitter rules.” No action was taken. The doxxing tweet is still up.”

Bari Weiss has reportedly been given employee-level access to Twitter. If sunlight is the best disinfectant, then Twitter under Elon Musk is being irradiated right now.

Why is all of this a big deal? It’s a big deal because Twitter openly lied to its users. Their secret little group was bending the rules to fit their whims and suppress the views of people they didn’t like, not people who were actually making threats or legitimately dangerous. Those in charge crafted the ability to do whatever they wanted, in order to benefit their friends and ideological allies. And the only reason we are having all of our suspicions confirmed is because Elon Musk paid $44 billion for the right to open up the floodgates.

With Jim Baker out the door and Bari Weiss combing through the information, I have a feeling this onion has only just begun to shed its layers.

Featured image: Twitter logo by Mizter_X94 via Pixabay, cropped and modified, Pixabay license

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1 Comment
  • Cameron says:

    No single one of the people at Twitter or the government who did this should have any anonymity. They should be shunned by normal people and forced to answer for their actions. And hopefully, Elon’s security is as good as it needs to be right now.

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