If You Criticize Elon Musk On Twitter, You Will Get Shadowbanned

Elon Musk once upon a time was highly critical of the use of shadowbans. He argued that shadow bans were anti free speech. But I am guessing that things have changed on that front as he’s now pro shadowban if you criticize him on Twitter:

In January, Elon Musk shared a post that railed against a moderation practice colloquially known as “shadowbanning”—where the visibility of a given account or post is secretly limited but not removed from the platform, creating a Kafka-esque experience where users unknowingly post into the void, only discoverable by people who know exactly where to look.

In August, after the self-appointed free speech crusader renamed the platform to X, he vaguely promised that a new mechanism that tells users if they have been shadowbanned would be coming “soon.”

But as of November, the opposite was happening. Instead of shining a light on the practice, various accounts on X who made critical posts about Musk have been shadowbanned with no explanation.

The specific sort of shadowban applied to these accounts is known as a search suggestion ban, which limits an account from showing up in search results.

Several accounts have been slapped with search suggestion shadowbans in recent weeks, including: this journalist, USA Today journalist Will Carless, an NBC affiliate account focused on LGBTQ+ news, and a Texas anti-cryptocurrency activist group.

There’s plenty of debate around the exact definition of the term “shadowban,” but Musk made clear that search suggestion bans, which effectively deamplify accounts by making them harder to find, fit the definition.


My own account was shadowbanned in late October after I posted a thread noting that the Maine mass shooter Robert Card liked a number of Musk’s posts. 

I made a number of other posts critical of Musk around the same time. After a follower informed me that my account wasn’t showing up in search, I ran a quick check on the Shadowban Test website, which confirmed I had been slapped with a search shadowban. Comments from other users confirmed the results.

The same test showed that NBC Out, a division of NBC News featuring LGBTQ-centric news, was also saddled with a search suggestion ban in October after the account shared an article about how some LGBTQ people say the platform has become toxic under Musk’s leadership. 

X also shadowbanned Carless of USA Today, who writes about right-wing extremism and recently released a report about Chaya Raichik, the woman who runs the Libs of TikTok account and is friendly with Musk online. The report found a pattern of bomb threats against subjects of her viral posts—which often are schools and hospitals.

This illustrates how thin skinned Elon is. There’s no other way to describe this as clearly Elon cannot deal with any sort of criticism like a fully functional adult. Now I don’t expect that Elon will alter this behaviour now that this is public. But shining a light on it does expose just how much of a horrible person he is and how he’s killing Twitter (and beyond) by his actions.

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