On the 26th of July, Vijaya Gadde and Product Lead Kayvon Beykpour released a blog on Twitter’s behalf regarding them ‘setting the record straight’. About what exactly? Well, accusations have been thrown at Twitter claiming they ‘Shadow Ban’.
What is Shadow Banning?
You may have never heard of the phrase ‘Shadow Banning’ before. That’s okay, it’s not a phrase many beginners to digital marketing will have seen before. Luckily, in Twitter’s explanation of what’s going on, they gave a definition of Shadow Banning; ‘Deliberately making someone’s content undiscoverable to everyone except the person who posted it, unbeknownst to the original poster’. As you can image, a company as big as Twitter being accused of this is not good.
Twitter addressed these accusations head-on, stating; ‘We do not Shadow Ban. You are always able to see the tweets from accounts you follow… And we certainly don’t Shadow Ban based on political viewpoints or ideology’.
As well as setting the record straight regarding Shadow Banning, Twitter explained that the search results for Twitter are sorted by their algorithm. The reasons they rank tweets is because ‘Twitter is most useful when it’s immediately relevant’. In order to get your tweets to rank highly, you need to try and fit within Twitter’s top-ranking specifications. These are;
- Being an interest to the user conducting the search
- Being a popular tweet, which is considered to be ‘generally interesting’
The main factor Twitter bears in mind when ranking tweets highly are their ‘timely relevance. Ensure your tweets are in with the most recent news and trends and you should rank well.
The dark side of the algorithm
While Twitter has revealed how you can fit in with the algorithm’s specifications, they’ve also told us about certain people who get on the algorithm’s bad side. Twitter calls these people ‘bad-faith actors’.
The type of person Twitter flags as a ‘bad-faith actor’ are those who ‘manipulate or divide the conversation’. These are people who impact Twitter negatively. For example, posting offensive content, upsetting comments or fake news. Ultimately, they are ranked badly and very low.
A recent issue
The reason Twitter has released this information, aside from the Shadow Banning accusations, is because of a recent problem that arose on the site. The problem, that some of you may have experienced, was the lack of auto-suggestions. Even if someone searched for a specific account name, they wouldn’t appear in the search. It was a bug on the site, which Twitter claimed ‘hundreds of thousands of accounts were affected by’ and that it was a random fault, not directed towards any groups of people.
The good news is, the problem has now been fixed. Plus, hopefully, after this release of information from Twitter, the Shadow Banning rumours will stop.
The takeaway for this is that you should always bear in mind when posting on Twitter is to make sure your content is relevant and in with the trends.