Shadow Banning

Shadow Banning

Updated Sep 01, 2019 at 08:28AM EDT by andcallmeshirley.

Added Apr 26, 2018 at 04:25PM EDT by Matt.

PROTIP: Press 'i' to view the image gallery, 'v' to view the video gallery, or 'r' to view a random entry.

This submission is currently being researched & evaluated!

You can help confirm this entry by contributing facts, media, and other evidence of notability and mutation.

About

Shadow Banning, also known as Stealth Banning, Ghost Banning or Comment Banning, is a moderation technique used in online communities in which a user is blocked from posting content without knowledge of the ban. Therefore, from the user's perspective, they are not banned, but other users cannot see their input.

Origin

The earliest known mention of shadow banning was published in the 2006 book Micro-ISV: From Reality to Vision.[1] In the book, Michael Pryor, the founder of the project management software company Fog Creek, said:

"When you have a discussion forum, you get troublemakers. You know people who are going to write prose, they're going to write posts that really don't belong, they're going to harass other people, and a lot of the discussion forums out there try to solve the problem by just giving moderators the right to delete posts.

"That gets rid of the post, but it doesn't solve the real problem, which is to try [to] keep the troublemakert out of the view of everyone else. Because if you delete their post, they come back and post again, now saying you're violating their free speech rights: you create ten posts for the one you deleted.

"So one of the things we did in FogBugz to solve the problem of how do you get the person to go away and leave you alone is, well, you take their post and make it invisible to everyone else, but they still see it. They won't know they've been deleted. There's no one fanning their flame. You can't get into a flame war if no one responds to your criticism. So they get silenced and eventually just go away."

Spread

On July 28th, 2015, Reddit admin krispykrackers,[2] posted on the /r/self subreddit about the use of shadow banning on the subreddit. On why they used the tactic, they wrote, "Because it's still the only tool we have to punish people who break the rules." The post received more than 490 points (78% upvoted) and 400 comments.

Pokémon GO Shadow Ban

On May 22nd, 2017, Redditor NianticGeorge, a support representative for the software company Ninatic, who makes the video game Pokémon GO, posted on the /r/TheSilphRoad subreddit[3] that violations of the game's Terms of Service could result in a shadow ban. They wrote:

"We're committed to maintaining the state of Pokémon GO and our community of Trainers. People who violate the Pokémon GO Terms of Service (including by using third party software and other cheats) may have their gameplay affected and may not be able to see all the Pokémon around them. While we cannot discuss the systems implemented, we can confirm that we are constantly refining new ways to ensure the integrity of the game in order to keep it fun and fair for all Trainers."

As a result of the policy, several videos began being uploaded to YouTube to help users who had been affected by the shadow ban (example below).



Twitter

On February 15th, 2017, BuzzFeed [4] reported that Twitter had been throttling user accounts in a shadow ban-like tactic. They wrote:

"Twitter is temporarily decreasing the reach of tweets from users it believes are engaging in abusive behavior via a new protocol that began rolling out last week.

The protocol temporarily prevents tweets from users Twitter deems abusive from being displayed to people who don't follow them, effectively reducing their reach. If the punished user mentions someone who doesn't follow them, for instance, that person would not see the tweet in their notifications tab. And if the punished user's followers retweet them, those retweets wouldn't be shown to people who don't follow them."
"Thank You" and "I Love You" Shadow Ban

On April 21st, 2018, Redditor[5] ShokTherapy posted in the /r/technology subreddit that Twitter users had been banned for using "certain benign phrases such as 'Thanks.'" They continued:

"Please do not actually attempt this, it happened to me by accident and I am attempting to share it here so that it can possibly get some attention. I have been sending ticket after ticket to twitter support trying to explain the exploit and they will not respond."

The following day, Twitter[6] user @Mlickles tweeted screen captures of various tweets with key phrases, like "thanks," underlined. They captioned the images, "WARNING: DO NOT say the phrases underlined these pictures. You will get your account locked for doing so. Why Twitter would bar you for a word used to show gratitude, is beyond me." The post (shown below) received more than 12,000 retweets and 18,000 likes in four days.


WARNING: DO NOT say the phrase:s underlined these pictures. You will get your account locked for doing so. Why Twitter would bar you for a word used to show gratitude, is beyond me paul@Paulty H... 4/10/18p Twitter, what the hell. gamer @mrbillum 1h Replying to @abollinger Thank you for sharing this Your account has been locked. Options Your account has been locked. Sage, equal In virtue to the Duke of Zhou spi to Wabollinge s thanked me for existing instead of requesting I c paul PaultyHeartsy Sage, cqual in virtuc to the Dukc of Zhou @spl is f--- s--- What happened? Your account appears to have exhibited automated behavior that violates the Twitter Rules. To unlock vour account. please The Krey Sage, equal in virtue to Zhou @splendid ssbm t happened? account appears to have exhibiteda ertain Benign Phrases su r Results in a Shadowban, 91 3 @PaultyH... 4/10/18ts (self.technology) Replying to @PadDoesMeems Thanks man! A : happened to me by acciden tion. I have been sending ti will not respond 1 I

Some responded to these claims by joking about Twitter blocking such terms (examples below).

Various groups accused the platform of censorship for blocking the words, including Milo Yiannopoulous's Dangerous.com.[7]

Twitter later confirmed to The Daily Dot [8] that the shadow ban had happened due to a glitch. A spokesperson said, "We identified a few instances of false positives originating from our efforts to combat a recent spam campaign, and have taken steps to correct the issue."


Twitter (2018) Say thank'again, I dare you, I double dare you m----------- say 'thank one more Goddamn time I JUST SAID "THANK YOU" PLEASE DON'T SHADOWBAN ME JACK SHADOWBAN ME YOU COWARD @TWITTER THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU SQUARE UP WEAKLING

Shadowban.eu

In May 2018, the site Shadowban.eu[15] was launched for users to test whether their Twitter accounts had been shadow banned, including search, thread and "quality filter discrimination" (QFD) bans.


ls@username shadowbanned on Tvitter? Username CHECK Test Results ? Search Ban ? Thread Ban 2 QFD

Search Results Controversy

On July 22nd, 2018, Gizmodo[9] reported that Twitter was possibly burying certain "controversial" users in their search results, including Richard Spencer and Unite The Right organizer Jason Kessler.

On July 25th, Vice[12] published an article reporting that Twitter appeared to be "shadow banning" various "prominent Republicans," including RNC Chair Ronna McDaniel and Donald Trump Jr.'s spokesman. That day, Twitter product lead Kayvon Beykpour tweeted a thread addressing the controversy, noting that the social networking site starting "using behavioral signals and machine learning to reduce people's ability to detract from healthy public conversation" back in May, but that the ranking "doesn't make judgements based on political views or the substance of tweets" (shown below).


Kayvon Beykpour@kayvz Jul 25 We've heard questions from some of you relating to our work to drive healthy conversation on Twitter. People are asking us 1) about the breadth and precision of our work & 2) the impact of our work on the Search experience. We wanted to address these questions transparently here 126 t 63 147 Kayvon Beykpour @kayvz Jul 25 In May, we started using behavioral signals and machine learning to reduce people's ability to detract from healthy public conversation on Twitter. This approach looks at account behavior & interactions with other accounts that violate our rules Twitter Safety@TwitterSafety Today we are introducing new behavior-based signals into how Tweets are organized and presented in areas like conversations and search. This is to improve the health of the conversation and improve everyone... Show this thread Kayvon Beykpour @kayvz Jul 25 On 1) We're always working to improve our behavior-based ranking models - their breadth and accuracy wi improve over time. It's important to note that these behavior signals are not binary, and they are one of many other signals that factor into ranking Kayvon Beykpour @kayvz Jul 25 To be clear, our behavioral ranking doesn't make judgements based on political views or the substance of tweets. We recently publicly testified to Congress on this topic judiciary.house.gov/wp-content/upl.. Kayvon Beykpour @kayvz Jul 25 On 2) Some accounts weren't being auto-suggested even when people were searching for their specific name. Our usage of the behavior signals within search was causing this to happen & making search results seem inaccurate. We're making a change today that will improve this. Kayvon Beykpour @kayvz Jul 25 We believe this work is really important to creating a healthier Twitter and we want to continue improving. Your feedback helps us do that so please keep it coming

Meanwhile, NY Mag[14] published an article titled "Twitter Is Not 'Shadow Banning' Republicans," which criticized the Vice article for its use of the term. On July 26th, Donald Trump tweeted that Twitter was shadow banning "prominent Republicans," which gained upwards of 85,800 likes and 27,900 retweets that day (shown below).[10] Shortly after, the tweet was submitted to /r/The_Donald,[11] where it gathered more than 7,600 points (92% upvoted) and 600 comments in four hours.


Donald J. Trump @realDonaldTrump Twitter "SHADOW BANNING" prominent Republicans. Not good. We will look into this discriminatory and illegal practice at once! Many complaints.

That morning, Vice[13] published an article titled "Twitter appears to have fixed search problems that lowered visibility of GOP lawmakers." That same day, Twitter user James O'Keefe tweeted a video, claiming it showed "undercover" footage of Twitter engineers discussing the company's shadow ban practices (shown below).




Meanwhile, BuzzFeed writer Katie Notopoulos tweeted several jokes about using the word "shadowbanned" in various humorous contexts (shown below).[16]


Katie Notopoulos@katienotopoulos 2h people should start using "shadowbanned" instead of ghosted" in terms of ending relationships Katie Notopoulos @katienotopoulos 2h "i can't believe after 5 months and MEETING HIS PARENTS he just straight up ~shadowbannedme!" Katie Notopoulos@katienotopoulos 2h aren't well shadowbanning something in our lives? like right now i'm shadowbanning the work i should be doing: i frequently shadowban my emotions let's take this cycle full 180 its time we realize shadowbanning is a form of se

Search Interest

External References

Recent Videos 3 total

Recent Images 10 total


Top Comments

Ryumaru Borike
Ryumaru Borike

Shadow Banning…is a moderation technique used in online communities in which a user is blocked from posting content without knowledge of the ban. Therefore, from the user’s perspective, they are not banned, but other users cannot see their input.

That sounds nefarious as fuck.

+104

+ Add a Comment

Comments (68)


Display Comments

Add a Comment


Sup! You must login or signup first!