Twitter is planning to roll out a software update that will let users know if their reach has been curtailed on the microblogging site along with options to file an appeal, the company said on Friday.
Chief executive officer (CEO) Elon Musk, who has released internal documents showing malpractices prior to his takeover of the social media company, said the software update will show “your true account status”.
“Twitter is working on a software update that will show your true account status, so you know clearly if you’ve been shadowbanned, the reason why and how to appeal,” Musk said in a tweet.
Twitter is working on a software update that will show your true account status, so you know clearly if you’ve been shadowbanned, the reason why and how to appeal
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) December 9, 2022
Shadow-banning refers to the practice of deliberately making a user’s content undiscoverable to other users, without the knowledge of the original poster.
This is arguably the first time that any high-ranking executive has admitted to Twitter’s practice of curtailing the reach of accounts. For a long time, scores of users have been accusing the social media giant of shadow-banning them because of their ideological orientation. But Twitter never admitted it.
In a blog written by Twitter’s then legal, policy and trust & safety lead Vijaya Gadde and Product Lead Kayvon Beykpour, the company said: “We do not shadow ban. And we certainly don’t shadow ban based on political viewpoints or ideology.”
After buying Twitter for $44 billion in October this year, Musk has set out on an ambitious plan to improve transparency in the company’s operation in order to make it a “public town square” in the true sense and ensure freedom of speech on the platform.
However, Musk has announced to curtail the reach of “negative” and hateful tweets.
“New Twitter policy is freedom of speech, but not freedom of reach. Negative/hate tweets will be max deboosted & demonetized, so no ads or other revenue to Twitter. You won’t find the tweet unless you specifically seek it out, which is no different from the rest of the Internet,” he tweeted last month.
Musk has released Twitter’s internal documents titled “Twitter Files” in two volumes, revealing the company built blacklists, prevented disfavored tweets from trending, and actively limited the visibility of entire accounts or even trending topics — all in secret, without informing users.