(CNSNews.com) - Twitter executives told Congress they did not "shadow ban" people for their political views. But they certainly did, according to the most recent (second) dump of the "Twitter files," which focuses on Twitter's "secret blacklist."
As relayed by Elon Musk to Bari Weiss, the founder and editor of The Free Press, we learn the following:
"A new #TwitterFiles investigation reveals 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."
("Truth brings reconciliation," Elon Musk tweeted on Thursday night after releasing the information. "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," he added.)
Here is the information released Thursday night, as posted by Bari Weiss on Twitter:
1. A new #TwitterFiles investigation reveals 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.
2. 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.
3. 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.
4. Or consider the popular right-wing talk show host, Dan Bongino (@dbongino), who at one point was slapped with a 'Search Blacklist.'
5. Twitter set the account of conservative activist Charlie Kirk (@charliekirk11) to 'Do Not Amplify.'
6. 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.'
7. What many people call 'shadow banning,' Twitter executives and employees call 'Visibility Filtering' or 'VF.' Multiple high-level sources confirmed its meaning.
8. 'Think about visibility filtering as being a way for us to suppress what people see to different levels. It’s a very powerful tool,' one senior Twitter employee told us.
9. '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.
10. All without users’ knowledge.
11. '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.
Those are the first 11 of 30 tweets released Thursday night. You can read the rest on Twitter.
In reaction, Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita told Fox News Friday morning that it looks like Twitter "was in collusion with the government."
"So the First Amendment protects speech, your speech, from your government. And when a company, private or not, nonprofit or not, starts to collude and work with the government, well, then you implicate it's free-speech violations.
Rokita also agreed that Twitter's previous speech-squelching policies could amount to "election interference...which is also a crime, in my opinion," he said.
"So, there is a lot going on here. I think we are in the first or second inning really of uncovering this in a nine-inning ballgame. And I hope that authorities at all levels look at this."