What You See in Your Twitter Feed Is Changing, But How?
By giving selected journalists access to some of the company’s internal communications, dubbed “The Twitter Files”, the social media platform’s new owner Elon Musk has attempted to prove that members of the previous management team allegedly Tried to silence conservative voices.
This week, Musk ended a key advisory group, the Trust and Safety Council, a group of about 100 independent civil, human rights and other organizations that the company formed in 2016 to address issues of hate, bullying, child abuse, suicide, self-harm and violence. Other sensitive content on the platform.
What do these changes mean for what you see in your everyday content? First, they show that Musk is prioritizing improving Twitter’s perception among the American political right. He is not promising unrestricted free speech, but making changes to amplify or disguise messages.
What are Twitter files?
Musk bought Twitter in late October for $44 billion and has since partnered with a select group of journalists, including former Rolling Stone writer Matt Tabby and opinion columnist Bari Weiss. Earlier this month, he began posting a series of tweets as Twitter first took action against accounts it believed violated its content rules. He included screenshots of emails and other internal messages that show conversations within Twitter about those decisions.
Weiss wrote on December 8 that “the authors have extensive and growing access to the Twitter archives. We agreed on the only condition that the material be posted to Twitter first.”
Weiss published the fifth and most recent installment on Monday about the conversation that led to Twitter’s decision to permanently suspend then-President Donald Trump’s account on January 8, 2021, after the “fatal attack” blamed violence and in the United States Capitol two days earlier because of the risk of incitement. Internal communications show at least one unnamed staff member doubting that one of the tweets is actually an incitement to violence. It also reveals the officers’ response to a campaign by some employees to push for tougher action on Trump.
Which files are missing?
The so-called Twitter files reveal part of an internal decision-making process that primarily affected conservative Twitter accounts, which the company says violated its rules against hateful behavior, as well as broadcasts Violated the forum rules. Misinformation about COVID-19.
But the reports are largely based on anecdotes from a handful of high-profile accounts, and the tweets do not reveal numbers about the scale of the suspension and which views are most likely to be affected. Journalists appear to have unlimited access to company messages in the Slack app — viewable by all employees — but have relied on Twitter executives to reveal other documents.
The Twitter Files Mention “Shadowbanning”, What Is That?
In 2018, after then-CEO Jack Dorsey said that Twitter would focus on the “health” of conversation on the platform, the company introduced a new approach aimed at reducing the influence of problematic users, or trolls, by detecting “behavioral signals”. Outlined. To indicate when users are more interested in enhancing certain conversations rather than contributing.
Twitter has long said it has used a technique described internally as “visibility filtering” to reduce the reach of some accounts that may be violating its rules, but not enough to be suspended. does not reach critical levels. However, he rejected claims that he was “shadowbanning” (“covertly censoring”) conservative views.
A screenshot of what an employee sees when viewing key user accounts released through the Twitter archives shows how the filtering works in practice. He also prompted Musk to call for changes to make it more transparent.
“Twitter is working on a software update that will show the exact status of your account, so you’ll have a clear idea if you’ve been secretly banned, why, and how to appeal,” he tweeted.
Who keeps track of what is posted on Twitter anymore?
Musk fired about half of Twitter’s staff after purchasing the platform and subsequently undisclosed contractors focused on content moderation. Some employees were soon released, including Joel Roth, the former head of trust and security at Twitter.
The departure of so many employees raised questions about how well the platform can enforce its policies against harmful misinformation, hate speech and threats of violence, both in the United States and abroad. Automated tools can help spot spam and some suspicious accounts, but others require more careful human review.
The job cuts are likely to force Twitter to focus content moderation efforts in geographies with tighter regulations governing social media platforms, such as Europe, where tech companies face large fines under the new law. may have to. According to Bhaskar Chakraborty, dean of global business at Tufts University’s Fletcher School, don’t try to combat misinformation and hate speech.
“The staff has been liquidated,” Chakraborty said. “The few remaining content intermediaries are going to focus on Europe, because Europe is the squeaky wheel.”
What has been the effect?
Since Musk bought Twitter, several researchers and advocacy groups have pointed to an increase in posts containing racial epithets or attacks against Jews, gays, lesbians and transgender people.
In many cases, the posts were written by users who said they were trying to test the new limits of Twitter under Musk’s leadership.
According to Musk, Twitter moved quickly to reduce the overall visibility of those posts, and has reduced overall engagement in hate speech since it bought the company, a finding disputed by the researchers.
The clearest sign of change on Twitter is the reinstatement of previously banned accounts, a list that includes Trump, the satire site The Babylon Bee, comedian Kathy Griffin, Canadian psychologist Jordan Peterson and, before he was banned again, rapper Yeh. Known as Kanye West. Twitter also restored the accounts of neo-Nazi white supremacists, including Andrew Anglin, the creator of the white supremacist website Daily Stormer, along with QAnon supporters who have been accused by Twitter’s old guard of preventing hate and misinformation from spreading on the platform. was removed for
In addition, some high-profile tweeters, such as Republican Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, who was previously banned from her accounts for spreading misinformation about COVID-19, have posted misleading claims about the safety of fake vaccines and treatments. Posted again.
Musk, who has also spread lies about COVID-19, raised the issue this week with a tweet mocking transgender pronouns, while calling for criminal charges against Dr. Anthony Fauci, America’s top infectious disease expert, and the government One of the leaders of the response to Covid.
Musk, calling himself a “free speech absolutist,” has said he wants to enable all legally permitted content on Twitter, but also reduce negative and hateful messages. Instead of removing toxic content, Musk’s call for “free speech, but no free access” indicates that Twitter may leave such content online, but without recommending or expanding it to other users.
But after sacking most of Twitter’s policy-making executives and outside advisers, Musk often appears to be the arbiter for anything that crosses the line. Last month, Musk himself announced that he was ousting Ye after the rapper posted an image of a swastika interspersed with the Star of David, a post that was not illegal, but very offensive. The decision raised the question of what rules govern what can and cannot be posted on the platform.