Many Twitter users voiced that their tweets are hidden and could probably be shadow banned in India even when not using hate speech.
In a strange spell of “invisible tweets” over months, many Twitter users in India, particularly from Congress voiced that their tweets are not being seen. In fact, many others have informed them that in order to see their tweets, they need to visit their timelines.
A Congress leader from Tamil Nadu said, “This is what I’m saying all the time.
@Twitter in India is politicized. Why @elonmusk – the freedom of expression crusader can’t look into this?”
This is what I'm saying all the time. @Twitter in India is politicised. Why @elonmusk – the freedom of expression crusader can't look into this? https://t.co/BZaxZDPdh4
— KTL (@K_T_L) January 9, 2023
Bratt from Congress expressed what he had been noticing over the last couple of months, “Most of the Congress accounts have been shadowbanned. Especially those who use the name of Rahul Gandhi & Bharat Jodo Yatra. Many of your tweets are hardly visible. Just keeping you all informed.”
Most of the Congress accounts have been shadow banned. Especially those use the name of Rahul Gandhi & Bharat Jodo Yatra. Many of your tweets are hardly visible. Just keeping you all informed.
— Брат (@B5001001101_) January 7, 2023
Elon Musk’s Bid for Free Speech and Twitter Culture
It seemed paradoxical to discover especially after Elon Musk’s bid for free speech that some accounts felt they were shadowbanned, of course, one would need an investigation to prove it. Elon Musk arrived at Twitter with a full-armed strategy to allow free speech which he said was curbed.
However, the new Twitter takeover team too must have discovered that hatemongers had to be locked or suspended because toxicity was now overflowing on social media in wild surges, so it was a pleasant surprise to discover many hate-spewing profiles were moved, but not all, many are still operating injecting virulent poison, but of a milder level. But is evident that the jargon and speech of Twitter users have toned down, as also the levels of name-calling have calmed down.
Twitter is perhaps the most influential and political social media platform arming the most influential people in the world to voice the souls of politicians, social activists, strategists, and powerful personalities while enabling simple citizens to air their opinions with equality.
The heart of Twitter has always been to strengthen equality of humans with no disparity, not between political parties, people, or powerful celebrities and each one’s threading interaction makes it all the richer, as a tinsel town, a political urban jungle, a tough-rough but glitzy city, or a spiritual nature walk, whichever way it swings.
However, the dismaying news also breaks forth with a discovery that many Twitter users’ tweets were not being seen and are “invisible”. Congress users from India in particular have been revealing that their tweets are not being seen, or is it just Congress, or are others in India feeling the same?
Who is in charge of Indian Twitter?
When Elon Musk took over, Twitter fired around 90 percent of its Indian workforce.
The firings were carried out as part of Elon Musk’s plan to cut employee costs. Elon Musk has gutted the Twitter India office and of around 200 employees only 20-24 remain part of the company, notes a news report.
However, just a few days after firing them, Twitter reportedly asked a few employees to come back to work, probably because these people handle crucial tasks in running the company. The reports suggested that the layoffs were carried out without much planning.
It is revealed that Elon Musk’s core team will include Sriram Krishnan, an Indian-origin software engineer and former Twitter executive who left the company last year. Krishnan was born in Chennai in what he described as a “very traditional” middle-income household.
Musk has enlisted employees from his other companies such as Tesla Inc., the Boring Company, and Neuralink, as well as investors Jason Calacanis and Sriram Krishnan. Many Twitter staff members were directed to extend their working hours to meet deadlines. Musk later stated that he would not alter Twitter’s content policies or restore banned accounts until after the midterms.
What is a shadow ban? Is it true that centrists and leftists are being shadow banned?
So, who is behind the shadow banning, is it aimed only at Congress or others in India as well? What are the criteria for shadow banning? None of the people claiming their tweets are hidden are potential abusers, nor do they engage in name-calling, racism, communalism, or online hate speech.
The term “shadow ban” is believed to have originated with moderators on the website Something Awful, although the feature was only used shortly and sparsely
Shadow banning, also called stealth banning, hell banning, ghost banning, and comment ghosting, is the method of blocking or partially blocking a user or the user’s content from some areas of an online community in such a way that the ban is not readily apparent to the user, regardless of whether the action is taken by an individual or an algorithm. For example, shadow-banned comments posted to a blog or media website will not be visible to other users accessing the site.
By partly concealing, or making a user’s contributions invisible or less prominent to other members of the service, the hope may be that in the scarcity of reactions to their comments, the problematic or otherwise out-of-favor user will become bored or frustrated and leave the site and that spammers and trolls will be discouraged to continue their unwanted behavior or create new accounts
It is not very clear who is in charge of Indian Twitter, perhaps there is no Indian Twitter team but some presume because Elon Musk is a right-winger, he would automatically support India’s right wing. So, is it true that India’s centrist and left parties are being shadow banned?