Musk shared the files with two independent journalists, Matt Taibbi and Bari Weiss, who went on to talk in detail about how entire teams of Twitter employees were put to the task of creating blacklists of prominent Twitter users, almost all of whom are conservatives, who would be suppressed and "shadow banned" by the platform. (Related: SABOTAGE: Key data on Twitter's role in suppressing free speech hidden and deleted without knowledge of bosses.)
The practice of shadow banning involves at least partially blocking a user from being reached by an online community. In the case of Twitter, this means preventing a person's tweets from gaining substantial visibility without informing the account owner of such, among other practices.
According to Weiss, these blacklists "prevent disfavored tweets from trending and actively limit the visibility of entire accounts or even trending topics – all in secret, without informing users."
"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," wrote Weiss.
One prominent individual that was blacklisted by Twitter was Stanford University School of Medicine professor Dr. Jay Bhattacharya, a longstanding opponent of Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19) groupthink who expressed strong opposition to lockdowns.
According to Weiss, Bhattacharya's criticism of lockdown policies led to him being placed on a "Trends Blacklist." This prevented Bhattacharya's tweets from trending.
Another person blacklisted is conservative political commentator and talk show host Dan Bongino, who was put on a "Search Blacklist," which prevented Twitter users from seeing Bongino's posts during searches. Conservative activist and founder of Turning Point USA Charlie Kirk was also blacklisted, with his account being given a "Do Not Amplify" tag.
"We ALWAYS knew we were a target of the Twitter suppression machine. ALWAYS," wrote Bongino in his account. "Yet liberals insisted it was another 'conspiracy theory.' Tonight is vindication, yet I expect no apologies from liberals. They live to abuse power and they'll make no apologies for doing so."
On Fox News's program "Hannity," Bongino added that Twitter's shadow-banning tactics were "some Soviet-syle b-------," and that the blacklist labels confirmed what he long believed about Twitter's "mass shadow banning of conservatives."
Weiss noted that Twitter has consistently denied engaging in shadow-banning practices. She noted that back in 2018, Twitter's then Head of Legal, Policy and Trust and General Counsel Vijaya Gadde and Head of Product Kayvon Beykpour denied that they're engaging in shadow banning, specifically shadow banning based on political ideology.
Learn more about the "Twitter Files" and how other social media platforms restrict freedom of speech at SpeechPolice.news.
Watch this video from the Resistance Chicks as they talk about the second episode of the "Twitter Files" and the social media platform's blacklists.