Twitter “accidentally” shadowbanned and suppressed the posts of an Independent Journal Review editor for over a year according to a statement from the company.
Independent Journal Review editor Caleb Hull became suspicious that many of his tweets weren’t being seen by his followers. Caleb reached out to Twitter to see if there was an issue with his account, suspecting that he had been “shadowbanned,” a term that refers to Twitter limiting users reach on their platform in an attempt to silence them without outright banning their account. Hull received a response from the social media company stating that his account had been “mistakenly caught by our spam filters.”
So what did this mean for Hull’s account? Breitbart News has previously outlined what happened when a user is shadowbanned — their tweets being listed as spam operates effectively in the same way that shadowbanning does. From Breitbart’s previous article:
Shadow banning, sometimes known as “Stealth Banning” or “Hell Banning,” is commonly used by online community managers to block content posted by spammers. Instead of banning a user directly (which would alert the spammer to their status, prompting them to create a new account), their content is merely hidden from public view.
For site owners, the ideal shadowban is when a user never realizes he’s been shadowbanned.
Hull, however, did notice that his tweets weren’t being seen by his audience. Hull told Breitbart News in a statement “I noticed around a year ago that people just weren’t noticing [my tweets] but it wasn’t until 6 months ago when I was asked 100% certain.” The limiting of Hull’s reach seemed to happen without any prompting on his part; “I have no idea why it happened but everyone just started telling me they never saw my replies.” According to Hull, his tweets “[didn’t] appear on public searches and my interactions don’t appear in anyone’s notifications.”
Hull noted in a tweet that Twitter has previously denied shadowbanning users, but has not denied “accidentally” marking users tweets as spam;