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Twitter Files 2.0 Explained: What is it? Who was Affected?
Days after Twitter owner Elon Musk supported the release of a major expose on the microblogging platform's operations prior to his acquiring, dubbed the Twitter Files, a new part of the revelations, aptly called Twitter Files 2.0 has been made public by a journalist on Twitter.
The second edition of the Twitter Files, released by journalist Bari Weiss on Twitter revealed multiple secret operative methods through which the microblogging platform blacklisted and de-amplified certain accounts.
Twitter Files 2.0: What is it?
THREAD: THE TWITTER FILES PART TWO.— Bari Weiss (@bariweiss) December 9, 2022
TWITTER’S SECRET BLACKLISTS.
The Twitter thread by Weiss revealed, through documented evidence, operations at Twitter where the company executives took calls on limiting the reach of certain accounts, shadowbanning, and blacklisting them. Accounts of former US president Donald Trump were among the ones that were restricted prior to the 2020 US presidential elections.
Weiss made several revelations of shadowbanning and blacklisting by Twitter employees to limit the spread of certain information, including misinformation around vaccines during the covid pandemic on the social media platform.
Weiss wrote, "A new #TwitterFiles investigation reveals that teams of Twitter employees build blacklists, prevent disfavoured tweets from trending, and actively limit the visibility of entire accounts or even trending topics - all in secret, without informing users."
Through the documented evidence, Weiss proved how Twitter has shadowbanned and secretly blacklisted certain people and content on the platform. Twitter calls this "visibility filtering."
What is Shadowbanning?
Through tools available to certain employees at Twitter, accounts that did not draw favour among the employees could be restricted from getting likes and retweets, through which content on Twitter is amplified to non-followers. Without going as far as blocking the accounts, Twitter employees could still blacklist certain accounts and content from reaching a wider audience.
Twitter employees could also limit the visibility of certain content in certain areas, without the knowledge of the user about why their content is being restricted. As per Weiss, this was primarily done to right-wing leaders and influencers in the US.
"VF (visibility filtering) 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."