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“At two occasionally tense congressional hearings Wednesday, members of the Senate Intelligence Committee and the Congressional Committee for Energy and Commerce grilled Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey on a broad range of topics, from concern over the proliferation of bots on Twitter to how the platform deals with hate speech.
But again and again, concerned members of Congress kept returning to one topic: shadow-banning, and the question of whether Twitter is engaging in the practice with regard to conservative voices on the site.
The basic definition of shadow-banning is simple: A member of a given internet community is tacitly blocked or muted to the rest of the community without their knowledge, so that only they can see what they’re posting. Shadow-banning has been around for years — it dates back to early internet forums — but the term has been catapulted into the news this year thanks to a persistent conspiracy theory that Twitter has pointedly and purposefully shadow-banned Republicans who use the site.
The conspiracy theory took root after Twitter made a change to its algorithm that effectively prevented hundreds of thousands of Twitter accounts from being auto-suggested when people used the site’s search function. The change turned out to affect the accounts of many conservative and Republican politicians.”
JJ Editor's Picks
"Kenya has been an al-Shabaab target for years. It seems like that will continue, even with US-backed military efforts to defeat the terrorists."
"The president publicly brags he is getting the best of Democrats as unhappy campaign officials find themselves trying to fire up his base."
"An unnamed senior Israeli lawyer was arrested on suspicion of demanding sexual favors in exchange for judicial appointments. Two more suspects, including a female judge from the center of the country, were also arrested in connection with the case."
"I've always wondered what fans see in her. After debating with a friend about her “merits” for over half a decade now, I thought I had found the one thing that could probably change my opinion of the pop star: the Reputation tour documentary..."
" The lifestyles of Iran’s privileged youths — including expensive holidays, glitzy parties and access to cash and jobs — have sparked public anger in recent months as U.S. sanctions squeeze the economy."
"34 technology companies announced their membership of a Cybersecurity Tech Accord, it was portrayed as proof that the private sector was, at long last, taking responsibility for protecting civilians online... that’s not automatically a good thing."
"Brands feel pressure from Millennial and Gen Z shoppers to step beyond the bounds of straightforward consumer-product marketing. “I think it is important to stand for more than the product’s benefit that you provide..."
"Free self-improvement idea for 2019: become Susan Sontag. Listen, it’s not as hard as it sounds... you might have a very interesting year."
"While on vacation in New Zealand, a family with “approximately 12” but maybe as many as 15 members spent nearly a month terrorizing the nation before the government gave them an official deportation notice."
"Dated was the word one friend used after going to Benno, and if you’ve eaten there, too, you’ll know why. It’s as if the past 15 years in food never happened. "
"Israel is in the midst of an ambitious mass-transit project, a new light-rail network... But the project has drawn the ire of environmentalists, who say it threatens a precious resource: Tel Aviv’s towering, glossy-leafed ficus trees."
"In the 21st century, the criteria for identifying a Jew remains contested. In the United States, Robert Mnookin points out, several critical challenges add a sense of urgency to the age-old debate."