Elon Musk on Friday released the "Twitter Files" season 2, revealing that the micro-blogging platform had a secret group that included former legal and public policy head Vijaya Gadde, then CTO Parag Agrawal and Yoel Roth, former global head of trust and safety, that made controversial decisions including "shadow banning" high-profile users without informing then CEO Jack Dorsey.
This time, the "Twitter Files Two" were released by Bari Weiss, Founder and Editor of The Free Press, on the micro-blogging platform and endorsed by Musk. "Controversial decisions were often made without getting Jack's approval and he was unaware of systemic bias.
The inmates were running the asylum. Jack has a pure heart imo (in my opinion)," tweeted Musk. Weiss said that the "investigation reveals that teams of Twitter employees build blacklists, prevent disfavoured tweets from trending, and actively limit the visibility of entire accounts or even trending topics -- all in secret, without informing users".
"This secret group included the Head of Legal, Policy, and Trust (Vijaya Gadde), the Global Head of Trust & Safety (Yoel Roth), subsequent CEOs Jack Dorsey and Parag Agrawal, and others," she mentioned in a tweet thread.
Twitter always denied that it did such things. In 2018, Gadde and Kayvon Beykpour, Head of Product, said: "We do not shadow ban. And we certainly don't shadow ban based on political viewpoints or ideology."
Weiss said that what many people call "shadow banning", Twitter executives and employees call "Visibility Filtering" or "VF". "VF refers to Twitter's control over user visibility. It used VF to block searches of individual users; to limit the scope of a particular tweet's discoverability; to block select users' posts from ever appearing on the atrending' page; and from inclusion in hashtag searches," she claimed.
The secret group is where the biggest, most politically sensitive decisions got made. "Think high follower accounts, controversial," another Twitter employee told us. For these "there would be no ticket or anything".
Weiss further tweeted that Twitter once had a mission "to give everyone the power to create and share ideas and information instantly, without barriers". "Along the way, barriers nevertheless were erected. All without users' knowledge," she added.
The "Twitter Files Two" came after Dorsey challenged Musk to stop creating sensation around the 'Twitter Files' and make everything public instead "without filter". Musk last week released the first episode of 'The Twitter Files' into the controversial decision to suppress Hunter Biden's laptop story on the platform.
Dorsey challenged Musk on Twitter that "if the goal is transparency to build trust, why not just release everything without a filter and let people judge for themselves? Including all discussions around current and future actions? Make everything public now".
Musk replied on Thursday: "Most important data was hidden (from you too) and some may have been deleted, but everything we find will be released." The episode 1 of the 'Twitter Files' mainly implicated Gadde in suppressing US President Joe Biden's son Hunter Biden's laptop story on the platform.
Without revealing how he obtained them, independent journalist and author Matt Taibbi shared the 'Twitter Files' on the platform, with an endorsement by Musk.