twitter files, secret blacklists, bari weiss, matt taibbi, limited visibility, suppress free speech
ETtechThe second installment of the Twitter Files – a series of tweets exposing the deliberate steps taken by the microblogging platform to suppress free speech – was released by Bari Weiss, founder of the independent news publication The Free Press, on Friday.

1. A new #TwitterFiles investigation reveals that teams of Twitter employees build blacklists, prevent disfavored t… https://t.co/jNAHY0UxtZ

— Bari Weiss (@bariweiss) 1670545209000

It alleged that “teams of Twitter employees build blacklists, prevent disfavored tweets from trending, and actively limit the visibility of entire accounts or even trending topics — all in secret, without informing users”.
Weiss, echoing Matt Taibbi — the independent journalist who released the first installment of the expose — said while Twitter wanted to provide people with the power to create ideas without barriers, it ultimately failed to do so.

2. Twitter once had a mission “to give everyone the power to create and share ideas and information instantly, with… https://t.co/yHHVpxb9yv

— Bari Weiss (@bariweiss) 1670545443000

Citing examples of how Twitter achieved this, Weiss spoke of Jay Bhattacharya — a professor at the Stanford School of Medicine — and right-wing talk show host Don Bongino
“Take, for example, Stanford’s Dr. Jay Bhattacharya who argued that Covid lockdowns would harm children. Twitter secretly placed him on a ‘Trends Blacklist’, which prevented his tweets from trending,” she said.

3. Take, for example, Stanford’s Dr. Jay Bhattacharya (@DrJBhattacharya) who argued that Covid lockdowns would harm… https://t.co/fMZxFRxe5l

— Bari Weiss (@bariweiss) 1670545844000

However, Twitter had previously denied such allegations.
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.”

6. Twitter denied that it does such things. In 2018, Twitter’s Vijaya Gadde (then Head of Legal Policy and Trust) a… https://t.co/KWpeqIAPYG

— Bari Weiss (@bariweiss) 1670546423000

Interestingly, executives at Twitter use the term – Visibility Filtering – while communicating about shadow banning, sources confirmed the meaning with Weiss and her publication.
What are the ‘Twitter Files’?
The “Twitter Files” are a set of leaked documents highlighting internal communication at Twitter around a New York Post article published in 2020 about then Democratic frontrunner Joe Biden’s son Hunter Biden.
According to the documents released by Taibbi, Twitter tried to censor the article on requests from the Democratic Party.

1. Thread: THE TWITTER FILES

— Matt Taibbi (@mtaibbi) 1670024072000

Taibbi said while Twitter initially lived up to its mission statement of giving people “the power to create and share ideas and information instantly, without barriers”, things took a major turn in 2020 when tweets and content started being taken down frequently on the request of “connected actors”.
He added, “ By 2020, requests from connected actors to delete tweets were routine. One executive would write to another: “More to review from the Biden team.” The reply would come back: “Handled.”
According to Taibbi, people – whether celebrities or not – could have their accounts removed or reviewed at “the behest of a political party”. He also pointed out that while requests were made from both sides – Republicans and Democrats – “the system wasn’t balanced”.
This is a developing story. Please watch the space for more

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