It is an understatement of the truth to say that Elon Musk’s decision to become Twitter’s largest shareholder has caused a massive triggering on both the left and right. The former was heartbroken by the possibility that the new sheriff will push for fewer restrictions for speech leftists find offensive and the latter being SO ready to do so.
Musk, now a member of the board of directors, made it clear that he was open to discussing the possibility of an edit button for Twitter. This has been a long-standing request from the Twitter community. He also stated that he was looking forward to “significant improvements” to Twitter over the coming months.
Shortly after Musk’s announcement, conservatives and other critics of Twitter policies offered suggestions to Musk on what changes to consider in order to make Twitter more user-friendly and less suppressive.
One suggestion was to lift Donald Trump’s ban to show that he is listening and not just reading what people are saying. Others suggested changes to Twitter’s algorithm, which many believe is one of their methods to suppress accounts and disapproval.
These suggestions were accompanied by requests for “tweaks,” (big ones), to Twitter’s one-sided content moderation policies. We saw this most prominently in October 2020 when Twitter closed down the NY Post account for the crime, which involved a deep dive into emails found on Hunter Biden’s laptop.
Although I haven’t seen it discussed much, I believe that one thing that could immediately level the playing field on Twitter is for Twitter to end shadowbanning.
Shadowbanning is a term that describes what happens to your account when it is blocked from appearing in hashtags or in people’s main feeds by their algorithm. While you can still post as much as you like, if an account has a large following, they will see your tweet and RT it, your engagement is severely restricted.
It’s less noticeable if one has a small number of followers – may be in the hundreds – but when you start to see thousands of followers and more, you will likely have been shadowbanned at least partially.
Tim Pool, Independent Journalist/YouTuber, pointed out this Friday regarding Bill Maher’s account:
With nearly 11M followers Bill Maher gets 37k views and only a couple dozen engagements
How do such large accounts have almost no engagement?
Seems like its all fake https://t.co/NPGgBRnLOh
— Tim Pool (@Timcast) April 8, 2022
This is something I’ve personally experienced. This has been happening to me for many years. Twitter denies the practice and I’ve tried various online tools to verify that I haven’t been shadowbanned. However, Twitter’s suppression techniques have prevented my tweets from being seen by a large percentage of my followers. This has in turn limited their ability to share them with others.
In the end, I have remained in the 34-35,000 range of followers for at least five years despite frequent participation. It’s what happens if people don’t view your stuff or very few people do. People often send me DMs or emails to let me know they haven’t seen my tweets in ages.
It’s one of those “first world” problems, to be sure. However, when you write for a living, and part of your job involves amplifying your posts on social networks, being blocked from reaching a wider audience because you have offended the Twitter Powers can be a big deal. Although I have been able to overcome my shadowban with some success it would make life much easier for everyone. It would give users like me the visibility they deserve and allow them to compete on a level playing field.
Ironically, I got almost zero engagement in my tweet complaining about being shadowbanned.
— Sister Toldjah 😁 (@sistertoldjah) April 8, 2022
Nevertheless, change will likely happen:
In the last 24 hours I’ve added nearly 8,000 new Twitter followers. Has @elonmusk made them change their algorithms already? Twitter whacked more than 10K from me a year ago. And seems to have been shadow-banning me ever since. Wondering what’s going on…
— Eric Metaxas (@ericmetaxas) April 7, 2022
It could be accidental, or it may not. No matter what the reason, I plan to post once a day a plea to Elon Musk for lifting my shadowban and other conservative content being kept secret simply because Twitter is controlled by former Democrat operatives who love to play games with people’s livelihoods and/or ability to express their opinions.