Twitter denies shadow banning Republicans


The president did not explain how it would be an "illegal" practice.

Twitter outbursts from Donald Trump have become commonplace since his election with the US President regularly choosing to tweet in place of traditional diplomacy.

Shadow banning is a way of restricting a users' reach by preventing other users from finding them via Twitter's search bar.

The controversy originated with a Vice News article Wednesday that claimed Twitter was "shadow banning" notable Republican accounts by limiting their appearance in its automatically populating search suggestions.

Vice has since reported that Twitter adjusted its platform after the outcry generated by their story "to no longer limit the visibility of some prominent Republicans in its search results". What Twitter did was much less severe, as it didn't affect the visibility of these Republicans' tweets. Twitter must give a public answer about what's really going on, "wrote McDaniel on his page in the microblog".

Shadow banning is the practice of hiding a user's posts so that the user can still see their own posts, but no one else can. But the news was enough for conservatives to claim that the social network, which they've been railing against, was shadowbanning them.

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In a tweet Wednesday, Kayvon Beykpour, head of product for Twitter, said that the company was not targeting Republicans and that it is working to alter its usage of "behavior signals" that inform its search results.

Hundreds of thousands of accounts were impacted by this issue and the impact was not limited to a certain political affiliation or geography.

In the past, Twitter has admitted mistakes, even apologizing after an incident previous year in which it initially banned a GOP congresswoman from promoting a tweeted video that discussed abortion.

Twitter denies shadow banning anyone but says it is making a change meant to rectify concerns brought up in the Vice News report. But the company has stressed repeatedly that it applies its policies even-handedly.

A Twitter spokesperson responded by promising the company was "shipping a change to address this" and insisting that its "technology is based on account *behavior* not the content of Tweets". But don't tell Trump that.

"I think a lot of the hysteria around the suppression of conservative views on social media is hot garbage", Nuñez said in an interview on Cheddar. Vice and others characterised this as shadow banning, and you can read a full explanation here.