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Twitter Files Part-II: Select users put on secret blacklist for being ‘right-wingers’

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It was initially broken by independent journalist Matt Taibbi where the moderator team justified the censorship of Hunter Biden story under 'hacked materials policy'

Washington, Dec 09: Days after the Hunter Biden Twitter censorship expose, the social media platform's new boss Elon Musk has now shared a thread that allegedly reveals how certain individuals were blacklisted by the company. Called 'Twitter Files', it throws light at the company's hidden practices of the previous management as they actively reduced the visibility of the accounts.

The Thread
"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," said the editor of The Free Press Bari Weiss, in a series of tweet. "Twitter once had a mission "to give everyone the power to create and share ideas and information instantly, without barriers." Along the way, barriers nevertheless were erected," she added.

Twitter Files Part-II: Select users put on secret blacklist for being ‘right-wingers’

The 'Twitter Files' was initially broken by independent journalist Matt Taibbi where the moderator team justified the censorship of the Hunter Biden story under 'hacked materials policy'. The second part is all about how the then management often censored right-wing accounts and non-mainstream narratives. Weiss pointed out how Stanford Professor Dr Jay Bhattacharya's tweets were prevented from trending.

"Take, for example, Stanford's Dr. Jay Bhattacharya (@DrJBhattacharya) who argued that Covid lockdowns would harm children. Twitter secretly placed him on a "Trends Blacklist," which prevented his tweets from trending," she tweeted and cited the cases of right-wing talk show host Dan Bongino and conservative activist Charlie Kirk.

How Ex Management Denied
However, the American journalist then claims how Vijaya Gadde, then Head of Legal Policy and Trust, and Kayvon Beykpour, then Product Head, had denied the allegations of censorship. "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," she wrote. Multiple high-level sources have confirmed her that "shadow banning" is called "visibility filtering" or "VF", according to the employees.

Want to have a nap in the office? Join TwitterWant to have a nap in the office? Join Twitter

One employee told her that it was a powerful tool. "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," she said.

The shadow ban was being done without bringing to the notice of the user. "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," she added.

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The Powerful Team
Bari Weiss stated that a group of Twitter employees constituting the 'Strategic Response Team - Global Escalation Team (SRT-GET)' decided whether to limit the reach of certain users. "It often handled up to 200 "cases" a day," she pointed out. Apart from the said team, another group had a lot of power which is called 'Site Integrity Policy, Policy Escalation Support (SIP-PES)'. "This secret group included the 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," she claimed.

"This is where the biggest, most politically sensitive decisions got made," she added, highlighting cases of Twitter accounts with considerable influence and a high number of followers.

A User Banned for Anti Liberal Views
One of the accounts that rose to this level of scrutiny was 'Libs of TikTok,' which is run by Chaya Raichik. The account, which was known for mocking the left liberals and trans activists, was suspended six times in 2022 alone. Twitter repeatedly informed Raichik that she had been suspended for violating Twitter's policy against "hateful conduct."

However, in an internal SIP-PES memo from October 2022, after her seventh suspension, the committee acknowledged that "LTT has not directly engaged in behaviour violative of the Hateful Conduct policy." 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", she tweeted.

Surprisingly, the then moderator team did not act against a user who had shared a private information of Raichik. "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," the American journalist wrote.

In internal Slack messages, Twitter employees spoke of using technicalities to restrict the visibility of tweets and subjects.

Here goes: How Hunter Biden story was censored on Twitter with lame justification Vijaya Gadde at helmHere goes: How Hunter Biden story was censored on Twitter with lame justification Vijaya Gadde at helm

"Six days later, in a direct message with an employee on the Health, Misinformation, Privacy, and Identity research team, Roth requested more research to support expanding "non-removal policy interventions like disabling engagements and deamplification/visibility filtering," Bari Weiss said. "The hypothesis underlying much of what we've implemented is that if exposure to, e.g., misinformation directly causes harm, we should use remediations that reduce exposure, and limiting the spread/virality of content is a good way to do that," the American journalist quoted Yoel Roth as saying.

"We got Jack on board with implementing this for civic integrity in the near term, but we're going to need to make a more robust case to get this into our repertoire of policy remediations - especially for other policy domains," Weiss further quoted the ex-Head of Trust & Safety at Twitter.

Given that the coterie of left-liberals had earlier dubbed independent journalist Matt Taibbi for allegedly 'selling out' to the world's richest man, Weiss emphasised that she and her colleague had been granted wide access to the Twitter files.

"The only condition we agreed to was that the material would first be published on Twitter," Weiss called out the lies of the left-liberal coterie who insinuated that Musk restricted the independent operations of the journalists covering the 'Twitter Files'.

Weiss has claimed that she and her colleague had been granted wide access to the Twitter files. "The only condition we agreed to was that the material would first be published on Twitter," Weiss called out the lies of the left-liberal coterie who insinuated that Musk restricted the independent operations of the journalists covering the 'Twitter Files', she added.

Later, Musk posted tweets by both Vijaya Gadde and Yoel Roth over their censorship policy. It may be recalled that the Tesla CEO had vowed to restore the people's trust on the platform.

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