Twitter to Start Telling Users If They’ve Been ‘Shadowbanned,’ Says Elon Musk

Elon “Chief Twit” Musk on Thursday announced another move in his ongoing reform of Twitter, saying that the company will soon start telling users if they have been “shadowbanned” on the social network and providing them with an avenue to appeal the restriction.

The news comes after journalist Bari Weiss published the second installment of “The Twitter Files,” containing findings from internal Twitter documents that detail how the previous management suppressed certain narratives on the platform by shadowbanning conservative commentators.

Shadowbanning is a way for social networks like Twitter to block or limit a user’s visibility on their platform without notifying them. Other users on the platform are unable to see any content posted by the shadowbanned user, with the latter being none the wiser.

Even though the shadowbanned user will be able to log in as they normally would and see everything that’s happening on the site, their interactions with it will be neutralized. It’s a way for the platform to limit the spread of problematic or rule-breaking content without outright banning the user.

Musk wants to take a more transparent approach to the matter. “Twitter is working on a software update that will show your true account status,” Musk said in a tweet on Thursday. “So you know clearly if you’ve been shadowbanned, the reason why and how to appeal.”

The Twitter Files, supplied to Weiss and writer Matt Taibbi by Musk, offer a glimpse into the old Twitter’s approach to governance and content moderation strategies.

Musk’s Twitter might as well be a different company entirely, given that most of the people who were working there when the eccentric entrepreneur took over in October have since either been laid off or quit.

Since completing his $44 billion acquisition of Twitter, Musk has been on a mission to fix the social network and turn it into his vision of a digital safe haven for free speech. He is dedicating the bulk of his waking hours to Twitter, even going so far as to regularly sleep at the company’s San Francisco headquarters.

Last month, Musk started unbanning Twitter accounts that had previously been permanently suspended. At the same time, Musk established Twitter’s new policy as “freedom of speech, but not freedom of reach.”