Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey said Wednesday the social media site does not shadow-ban users but he did say Twitter’s analytics reduce the visibility of certain users on an evolving basis.
Dorsey appeared on Sean Hannity’s radio show and the host asked him whether Twitter systematically makes it harder for users to find certain people, a practice called shadow-banning. Twitter has been criticized for shadow-banning conservative users, and Dorsey said Twitter does not shadow-ban but it does rank certain users in its search bar and in conversations based on what they say.
“Has Twitter ever been involved in shadow-banning?” Hannity asked.
“We do not shadow-ban according to political ideology or viewpoint or content, period. Every model that we have on the network is really looking at the behaviors on the network,” Dorsey said. “We take those behaviors as signals and I do want to point out that these signals evolve minute by minute, hourly by hourly, these are not scarlet permanent letters that people then take on as a badge and will never be ranked high in search or not allowed to trend or ranked high in conversations.”
Dorsey said Twitter’s models focus on behaviors rather than the political opinions of users.
“So, these are models that are looking at behaviors and behaviors of bad-faith actors who intend to manipulate, distract, divide a conversation or to unfairly amplify their content which they didn’t earn so those are the signals that factor in and we do rank search, we do rank trends and we do rank conversations accordingly,” Dorsey said.
Dorsey said users still see the accounts they follow on their timeline but Twitter may put some accounts farther down in users’ timelines.
He also said threats of violence are banned but that other references to violence may be allowed given “cultural contexts.”