Published on October 1st, 2023
Nine months after Elon Musk made a promise to shed more light on the practice of shadowbanning on Twitter, a designer at the social media giant, now known as X, has given us a glimpse of what this increased transparency might look like.
Shadowbanning, a term that’s sparked both controversy and debate, involves concealing certain accounts or posts from search results, and feeds, or limiting their reach.
Depending on who you ask, it’s either seen as a form of blatant censorship or a measure to combat misuse and disruption in conversations.
Regardless of your stance on the matter, Elon Musk, the owner of Twitter, pledged last year to be more forthcoming about the reasons behind shadowbanning.
This week, Andrea Conway, a designer at Twitter, shared mock-ups of potential “shadowban” labels.
In these screenshots, a notification informs a user that Twitter has “added a label to your account which may impact its reach.”
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If the user is curious and clicks on the “Learn more” link, they are directed to a page that explains why they received the label and offers an avenue for appeal. Conway notes that the final design may differ from what’s currently displayed.
These notifications are not just for individual tweets; Twitter introduced a similar warning system for entire accounts in April 2023. The mechanisms for both operate in a similar manner.
Image Source: ndtv.com
Users receive a notification if their tweet or account has been flagged, and they have the opportunity to challenge the decision if they believe it’s unjust.
Under Elon Musk’s leadership, Twitter has adopted a “Freedom of speech, not reach” philosophy. This approach involves the platform not removing as many posts as it once did but rather limiting the visibility of objectionable content.
However, this philosophy has garnered both staunch supporters and vocal critics, as the nature of objectionable posts can vary significantly.
According to Twitter’s guidelines, flagged accounts and tweets may be excluded from search results, trending topics, and recommendation notifications.
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Moreover, such accounts and tweets may no longer appear in users’ timelines, and their discoverability may be reduced.