- The Washington Times - Thursday, August 17, 2023

The long-hated process of shadow-banning on X, formerly Twitter, soon will change, according to owner Elon Musk

At the Viva Tech conference this week, the billionaire said he plans to address the issue soon. He said the company is working on a plan that will let people see if their account was affected by the Twitter system. 

“Sorry it’s taking so long,” Mr. Musk posted. “There are so many layers of ‘trust & safety’ software that it often takes us hours to figure out who, how and why an account was suspended or shadow-banned. A ground up rewrite is underway that simplifies the X codebase dramatically.”

Shadow-banning is a practice where users have their accounts partially silenced without their knowledge. If users are shadow-banned, they can still post but they will notice engagement drops significantly. Since there is no way to officially know that a user is shadow-banned, the issue has been politicized. Conservative accounts consistently claimed they were shadow-banned for speaking out against vaccines or the 2020 election. 

Yoel Roth, former head of Twitter’s Trust & Safety team, shed more light on Mr. Musk’s comments. In a thread on rival social media site Blue Sky, Mr. Roth, who left Twitter after Mr. Musk took over last year, explained that it’s difficult to create an automated system for account status.

Mr. Roth explained that his Twitter team was working on a system that would accomplish what Mr. Musk wanted before he took over that was due to be finished this year. 

• Vaughn Cockayne can be reached at vcockayne@washingtontimes.com.

Copyright © 2023 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

Please read our comment policy before commenting.

Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide