Yesterday a number of high-profile Twitter accounts got ‘hacked’ with one of the internal ‘admin’ tools Twitter uses. The most interesting thing to me about this ‘hack’ is the fact that this exposed the internal ‘admin’ tool which clearly shows that Twitter has implemented shadow banning functionality similar to the deboosting functionality on other social media platforms such as Facebook and YouTube. As reported by TechCrunch:
A hacker allegedly behind a spate of Twitter account hacks on Wednesday gained access to a Twitter “admin” tool on the company’s network that allowed them to hijack high-profile Twitter accounts to spread a cryptocurrency scam, according to a person with direct knowledge of the incident.
The account hijacks hit some of the most prominent users on the social media platform, including leading cryptocurrency sites, but also ensnared several celebrity accounts, notably Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos, Elon Musk and Democratic presidential hopeful Joe Biden.
Kirk allegedly had access to an internal tool on Twitter’s network, which allowed them to effectively take control of a user’s account. A screenshot shared with TechCrunch shows the apparent admin tool. (Twitter is removing tweets and suspending users that share screenshots of the tool.)
The leaked screenshot clearly shows functionality for “Trends Blacklist” and “Search Blacklist” related to an account. That functionality probably prevents the account from appearing in the trends and search features on the website. Twitter has denied using such functionality in the past and now the truth finally came out.
As I wrote before in my post “Deboosting And Shadow Banning On Facebook And Other Social Media Platforms” such functionality is used by these social media platforms for censorship. Any speech on their platform that doesn’t fit their agenda gets deboosted and accounts are shadow banned. This is often done in a subtle way in the beginning without the victim realizing what’s going on and slowly gets more obvious until they finally outright delete your account.
This is what happened recently to Stefan Molyneux for example. In an interview on the Modern Wisdom channel on YouTube, he explains what happened in his case around 2 minutes and 45 seconds in. First he couldn’t find his videos when searching for them using their exact title; then shortly after that his name didn’t appear anymore in the autocomplete when using search; then his videos were vanishing according to his users and ultimately his entire channel was deleted.