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“Free speech, but not access”: Twitter has developed “secret blacklists” and restricted visibility of accounts and topics

“Free speech, but not access”: Twitter has developed “secret blacklists” and restricted visibility of accounts and topics

Twitter set up “secret blacklists” and developed a hidden process to mitigate the visibility of tweets, accounts and topics, revealing the second part of the “Twitter Archives” investigation released on the social network and explained by the magazine. “Forbes”🇧🇷 According to Barry Weiss, former journalist for the North American publication, the platform will have teams of staff dedicated to building blacklists, to prevent certain tweets from becoming a trend and limit the visibility of accounts or topics.


The operation began “without the knowledge of the users,” asserted Barry Weiss, a former conservative commentator who, along with journalist Matt Tibi, obtained from the hands of Elon Musk access to internal Twitter documents.

Among the blacklisted accounts are Stanford health policy professor Jay Bhattacharya, conservatives Dan Bongino and Charlie Kirk, and “Libs of TikTok,” an influential and controversial account that shares far-right views. The reasons for targeting the accounts are unknown, and it has not been confirmed whether the restricted users have broken any rules. Barry Weiss said the Strategic Response Team (as it’s called) was often handling up to 200 cases a day.

Politically sensitive decisions — the category in which “Libs of TikTok” is included — were handed over to another team, Social Network Integration Policy, made up of senior executives such as CEOs Jack Dorsey and Parag Agrawal.

Badie Weiss defined Twitter’s secret operation as “outrageous acts of censorship” and likened it to the moderation policies Musk announced to Twitter, according to which there would be “freedom of expression, but not freedom of access.” The journalist used the term “shadow ban” [“proibição oculta”]and the social network refused to categorize, arguing that the tweets did not stop appearing, they were less accessible.

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After the release of the second part of the Twitter files, Musk said he is working on a software update that will show users who have been restricted, the reason for the restriction, and how to appeal the decision. According to Elon Musk, tweets, like videos, will also track in views in a few weeks.

When asked on Twitter, Musk acknowledged that there have been political candidates subject to visibility restrictions during the campaign. But the businessman did not mention the targeted politicians, whether they were Americans or from another country.

The first wave of Twitter archives, unearthed in early December, showed Twitter’s efforts to silence a New York Post story in October 2020 that pointed to ties between then-Vice President Joe Biden and a Ukrainian energy company that paid off the Democrat’s son. Hunter Biden. The disclosure of the internal documents is part of Musk’s overhaul of Twitter, aimed at free speech.