MADRID, Dec. 9 (Portaltic/EP) –
the journalist Bari Weiss has shared this new morning internal information of Twitterfiltered at the initiative of the owner of the social network, Elon Muskwhich reports some “secret blacklists” that the platform creates to prevent certain tweets and limit accounts and current topics.
This is an investigation that reveals that the platform’s teams use blacklists to “avoid that the disfavored tweets become a trend” and for limit the visibility of accounts or even hot topics. As Weiss has stated, “everything in secret, without informing users”.
In addition, the then head of Legal Policy and Trust, Vijaya Gadde, and the head of Product, Kayvon Beykpour, already denied this type of activity in 2018alleging that they did not ‘shadowban’ (a way to covertly block certain actions).
In fact, regarding the ‘shadow ban’, Musk has announced this morning that Twitter is working on a new software update that will allow users to know the “true status of their account”. That is, users will be able to check if their profile and publications have been classified as unfit to be shown to other users and the reasons for which it has been decided. They may also appeal this situation.
It is a function that resembles the recent Instagram update, which will introduce a space for professional users to check whether your content is eligible to appear as recommended and if it is not, see the reasons why it has been ruled out, and may also request a review of said decision.
Equally, to prove these claims about “secret blacklisting”, The journalist relies on a series of screenshots with examples shared in a Twitter thread that show internal content that only certain platform staff members have access to. These images contain a watermark which indicates that were carried out by the head of Trust and Security from the social network, Ella Irwin.
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.
— Bari Weiss (@bariweiss) December 9, 2022
In this sense, a certain concern in users since the use of these captures could have meant that the journalist had access to Irwin’s account and, therefore, to confidential information and personal data such as private messages from profiles.
However, Irwin has clarified that it was herself the one who made the captures through his account. As she explained, she made the captures “for security reasons”, to ensure that no personally identifiable information was exposed.
“We did not give this access to the reporters and no, the reporters did not access the direct messages of the users,” Irwin has sentenced to clarify the situation through a tweet.
Likewise, the watermarks that contain the screenshots were added to the employee accounts to facilitate the origin of these captures and corroborate that it is a capture of internal systems, according to expert sources on the platform to Bloomberg. .
LEAKS PROMOTED BY MUSK
The exposure of inside information on Twitter and the screenshots shared by Bari Weiss are part of a series of Elon Musk’s initiatives to filter internal deliberations of the previous administration of the social network. In fact, there was already a first leak about the deliberations on Hunter Biden, the son of the US president, Joe Biden.
Specifically, it is a set of internal documentsincluding emails from former Twitter employees, which Musk has released to reporters and called ‘Twitter Archives’.
In this context, concern about the exposure of confidential and private information has grown among users, since it could violate the privacy agreement with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) of 2022.
This has been denounced by Former director of security at Meta, Alex Stamos, who has warned that this new thread by journalist Weiss “should be enough for the FTC to open an investigation into a consent decree violation and maybe get a subpoena for Twitter’s internal access logs.”
In fact, part of the FTC’s agreement with Twitter stipulates that employee access to sensitive user account data is only granted to people with a valid business justification for accessing that data.