Report: Twitter Had 'Secret Blacklists' to Limit Users

Journalist Bari Weiss on Friday claimed internal company documents showed Twitter practiced different methods of censorship before Elon Musk bought the platform in October.

Report: Twitter Had 'Secret Blacklists' to Limit Users
Image credit: Al Jazeera

Facts

  • Journalist Bari Weiss on Friday claimed internal company documents showed Twitter practiced different methods of censorship before Elon Musk bought the platform in October. She said that it created "secret" blacklists to limit users and restricted the visibility of "disfavored tweets" and certain right-leaning accounts.
  • This comes after Weiss, a former opinion editor at The New York Times who now runs The Free Press, was given access, along with fellow independent journalist Matt Taibbi, to a trove of company documents by Musk.
  • In the second batch of "Twitter Files," Weiss zeroed in on several specific accounts. These included Stanford University’s Dr. Jay Bhattacharya, conservative activist Charlie Kirk, and Chaya Raichik, who operates the "Libsoftiktok" account.
  • Weiss suggested that Twitter strayed from its original mission of giving "everyone the power to create and share ideas and information instantly, without barriers" by developing means to suppress identified users.
  • She included screenshots of the interface Twitter used to bar certain accounts, showing tags that indicate their restricted status and quoting several unnamed Twitter employees to support her claims. The most politically sensitive decisions were reportedly made by a group of top executives in the Site Integrity Policy and Policy Escalation Support.
  • Twitter executives, including the former head of legal policy and trust Vijaya Gadde and head of product Kayvon Beykpour, had previously denied shadowbanning, stating in 2018, "...we certainly don’t shadow ban based on political viewpoints or ideology."
  • Liberal media personalities on Twitter slammed Musk for giving Bari Weiss access to internal Twitter files, with some accusing him of conducting a PR stunt.

Sources: Al Jazeera, Axios, New York Post, CNN Breaking, and FOX News.

Narratives

  • Right narrative, as provided by The Federalist. The old Twitter regime never thought someone would buy them out, let alone release their inner workings, which is why they repeatedly lied to the American people about politically-motivated shadow banning. They banned prestigious doctors from speaking about COVID, Libs of TikTok from freely exposing disturbing "gender-affirming care" for children, and conservative viewpoints in general. Entire swaths of the American political arena were wrongly silenced.
  • Left narrative, as provided by Business Insider. These "Twitter Drops" are embarrassing nothingburgers. Twitter's use of different methods of sanctions is not a violation of the First Amendment, which applies only to state actors. US Federal courts have ruled time and again, and as recently as 2020, that social media platforms are not state actors. What Weiss described is simply... content moderation.