Twitter Insists ‘We Do Not Shadow Ban’

Company says auto-suggestion “issue” has been resolved

Twitter is continuing to push back against claims it censors conservatives, with the company insisting “we do not shadow ban” in a blog post on Thursday night.

“You are always able to see the tweets from accounts you follow (although you may have to do more work to find them, like go directly to their profile). And we certainly don’t shadow ban based on political viewpoints or ideology,” wrote Keyvon Beykpour, Twitter’s head of product, and Vijaya Gadde, the company’s head of legal.

The response was prompted by a Vice News article published Wednesday, which found that a number of prominent Republicans were not autofilling in the social media platform’s search bar.

Twitter said this issue wasn’t exclusive to conservatives in its blog post, with some Democratic politicians “not properly showing up within search auto-suggestions.” The company said the “issue” has been resolved.

The blog post reiterated what CEO Jack Dorsey said soon after the Vice article was published — that the platform doesn’t hide any content posted by its users. Instead, Twitter outlined its approach to ranking tweets and search results based on several factors, including accounts that users have interacted with and topics they’ve shown interest in. Twitter said this is ultimately what led to Republican representatives not auto-filling its search results.

Another factor in Twitter’s ranking are tweets from “bad-faith actors who intend to manipulate or divide the conversation,” which the company pushes lower.

This touches on a similar refrain from the company in 2018. Dorsey has said the company wants to foster the “health of public conversation.”  Twitter has also taken several steps to make its app less toxic in recent months, with the company purging millions of inactive accounts, as well as deleting 70 million fake users between May and June.

The efforts to scrub malicious accounts may have negatively impacted Twitter’s growth, however, with the company reporting on Friday it lost 1 million monthly active accounts during the second quarter. Twitter’s stock is down 17 percent in early-morning trading.