Twitter appears to have adjusted its platform overnight to no longer limit the visibility of some prominent Republicans in its search results, a problem that the company said was a side effect of its attempts to clean up discourse on its platform.
On Wednesday VICE News reported that Twitter’s drop-down search section was not showing the profiles of some prominent Republicans in what amounted to a “shadow ban.” Those affected included RNC Chair Ronna McDaniel, Republican Reps. Mark Meadows, Jim Jordan, Matt Gaetz, along with Andrew Surabian, Donald Trump Jr.’s spokesman and former Special Assistant to the President. The profiles did populate when entering a full search but not not in the more visible search menu.
Twitter did not immediately respond for comment about the changes but Twitter's Kayvon Beykpour announced on Wednesday that the fixes would be coming.
The search problems appeared to have been a side effect of Twitter’s recently stepped up attempts at improving “conversation health” and limiting the reach of “troll-like behaviors.”
But Democrats in Congress and DNC chair Tom Perez did not appear to be affected like McDaniel and some other congressional Republicans.
The report provoked outrage on the right and claims that the social media company was intentionally censoring conservative voices. In a statement yesterday, a Twitter spokesperson told VICE News that the platform does not make judgements on political views and “I'd emphasize that our technology is based on account *behavior* not the content of Tweets.”
President Donald Trump weighed in this morning, on Twitter:
Twitter’s shares dropped 3.2 percent in early trading in New York Thursday morning as well. Following VICE News’ report yesterday, CEO Jack Dorsey tweeted that “It suffices to say we have a lot more work to do to earn people’s trust on how we work.”
Below are screenshots from Twitter's search function taken Thursday.
Cover image: KRAKOW, POLAND - 2018/07/25: Twitter app is seen in an android mobile phone with President of the United States Donald Trump on the background. (Photo by Omar Marques/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)