Nine months after Elon Musk announced Twitter/X had begun work on a software update that will show users if their account had been “shadowbanned,” the company is unveiling what it has in mind.
Andrea Conway, a designer at X, offered a preview of the upcoming feature Tuesday afternoon, showing mock-ups of what users would see. (No date was given on when limited visibility filters would go into effect on the site.)
The first shows an alert in the notifications tab that the site has “added a label to your account which may impact its reach.” From there, users can click to an information page that explains what’s going on.
“We have found that your account potentially contains sensitive media — such as graphic, violent, nudity, sexual behavior, hateful symbols, or other sensitive content,” it reads. “We may cover your posts with a warning so people who don’t want to see sensitive content can avoid it. The reach of your account and its content may also be restricted, such as being excluded from the For You and Following timelines, recommended notifications, trends, and search results.”
Users can appeal the label if they feel it was applied inappropriately, though it was unclear how that process works.
Twitter has limited visibility on posts that broke its rules in the past, but this is the first time it has put limits on entire accounts.
Limiting visibility of posts isn’t actually shadowbanning. Twitter itself has previously described that practice as “deliberately making someone’s content undiscoverable to everyone except the person who posted it, unbeknownst to the original poster.” (The company, for instance, said earlier this year it would suppress accounts that do not pay for Twitter Blue, which would qualify as shadowbanning.)
But Musk, when he took over the site, handed over records of Twitter executives discussing visibility filtering to hand-selected journalists after he took control of the site, accusing the company of shadowbanning.
Around that same time, he wrote “Twitter is working on a software update that will show your true account status, so you know clearly if you’ve been shadowbanned, the reason why and how to appeal.”
Conway noted the language and user interface details she shared were not final, adding, “we’re still flushing through some of the final details but should have more to share on this soon.”