X, the social media platform, is on the brink of releasing its long-awaited feature that will notify users about whether or not their account has been “shadowbanned.” Andrea Conway, a designer at X, recently offered a preview of the upcoming feature that was first promised by Elon Musk last year.
Conway shared two mock-ups to give users an idea of what the feature will look like. One is an alert that will appear in the notifications tab, while the other is an informational page that explains why X may limit the visibility of some accounts. The page states, “We have found that your account potentially contains sensitive media — such as graphic, violent, nudity, sexual behavior, hateful symbols, or other sensitive content.” It further explains that X may cover the user’s posts with a warning to allow people who don’t want to see sensitive content to avoid it. Additionally, the reach of the account and its content may be restricted, such as being excluded from the For You and Following timelines, recommended notifications, trends, and search results.
In an effort to provide users with the ability to contest X’s decision, an appeal button will be available underneath the warning message. This way, if users feel their account has been unfairly treated, they can request X to reconsider its initial decision. Conway also mentioned that users will likely be able to view their account status outside of the app’s notifications tab, but the specifics of how that will work have not been finalized yet.
X previously introduced a labeling feature for individual tweets that have been “visibility limited” for violating the company’s rules. However, the latest update will take this a step further by making the restrictions visible at the account level, not just for specific tweets.
This new feature touches on a long-standing issue for Twitter, and now X. The company has been limiting the reach of accounts that violate its rules for years. In the past, under Twitter’s previous management, this practice was known as “visibility filtering.” However, the company did not publicly disclose details about the practice or which accounts were limited, which led to conspiracy theories about “shadowbans.”
This issue gained attention again last year when Musk handed over internal emails and other company records to independent journalists, who then published records of Twitter executives discussing visibility filtering. Musk later tweeted that a future update would “show your true account status, so you know clearly if you’ve been shadowbanned, the reason why, and how to appeal.”
While visibility filtering and “shadowbanning” are not exactly the same thing, the forthcoming update aims to provide additional transparency to the practice. Twitter has clarified in the past that shadowbanning refers to making someone’s content undiscoverable to everyone except the person who posted it, while visibility filtering hides tweets from search, recommendations, and other surfaces but does not make them completely invisible.
The exact release date for this feature is still unknown, but Conway stated that the company “should have more to share on this soon.” As the feature becomes available, it is likely to create more transparency around content limitations on X, but it may also spark controversy and debates about the platform’s moderation policies.
In conclusion, X is on the verge of introducing a feature that will alert users if their account has been “shadowbanned” or had its visibility limited due to the presence of sensitive content. This new feature aims to provide users with more transparency and the ability to appeal the platform’s decision. While the exact details and release date are still undisclosed, X is committed to addressing the issue and sharing more information in the near future.