What Is a ‘Shadow Ban,’ and Is Twitter Doing It to Republican Accounts?

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Vice claimed on Wednesday that Twitter was suppressing the search results for the accounts of some Republicans. The company denied that it was “shadow banning” conservative voices, and the president weighed in on Thursday.CreditCreditJosh Edelson/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

When President Trump accused Twitter of “shadow banning” Republicans in a tweet on Thursday morning, it was the latest salvo in a long-running debate over whether social media platforms suppress conservative users because of their political views.

 

What is shadow banning?

When a person is shadow banned, their posts on a platform are rendered essentially invisible to everyone but themselves. Their experience using a site may not change — they feel like they are still posting normally — but other people cannot see the material they produce, said Monica Stephens, a professor at the State University of New York at Buffalo who studies social media.

“Shadow banning is when you are algorithmically being kind of shut down, and that often has to do with, particularly, the content that you are posting,” Ms. Stephens said. “Maybe it doesn’t violate the terms of service, but they make it so other people can’t see that content.”

 

Published July 26, 2018

The New York Times

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