Dave Rubin spent 2 days at Twitter HQ to do a ‘deep dive’ into shadowbanning. Here’s what he learned.

Soon after Elon Musk hauled the kitchen sink into the San Francisco headquarters of Twitter, conservative account holders small and large noticed with joy that their tweets were actually being seen by other users. It was as though the gates of Twitmo were blasted open and the days of “shadowbanning” were, at last, a thing of the past.

But the celebration was short-lived. In recent months, users have taken to the social media platform to tell the quirky CEO that their engagements were once again significantly down, leading some to suspect there were still bad actors in Twitter’s birdhouse.

Blaze Media host Dave Rubin was one of the conservative accounts that were being “absolutely crushed,” so he decided to leave his Florida home and travel to San Francisco to find out what was happening behind the scenes.

“No, I’m not in Miami in the Free State of Florida,” he told fans of “The Rubin Report” in a YouTube video. “I’m in San Francisco, in communist California.”

“I have good reason to be here,” he said, adding later, “I would not come back to this state if it wasn’t about good reasons.”


(Video: YouTube)

After spending two days at the heart of Twitter, Rubin took to the platform and reported in a lengthy thread what he discovered.

“Spent last two days at Twitter in SF talking to engineers, product managers and yes, @elonmusk,” he tweeted on Thursday. “Learned a ton about what’s going on.”

“Before I share,” he continued, “want to note that after couple hour meeting I asked Elon what I could share and he said, ‘anything that’s true.’”

According to Rubin, Musk and his dedicated team have been playing whack-a-mole with problems in Twitter’s code. He said that Musk likened the code “to a Jenga tower. One wrong move the whole thing collapses.”

It’s what Musk called, “A Fractal Rube Goldberg Machine,” and he has been hands-on with the team, working tirelessly to fix it.

“I met with several engineers who were doing a deep dive on why my account and so many others seem to be absolutely crushed after that two or three week return to normalcy when Elon first took over,” Rubiin reports (no pun intended). “They still have more questions than answers, but they did learn a bunch of stuff.”

“Accounts aren’t just hit with labels that are obvious to insiders,” he explained. “They now found more ‘secret’ labels which are causing shadowbans. My account was hit with all three; ‘Recent abuse strike,’ ‘Recent misinformation strike’, ‘Recent suspension strike.'”

While it is uncertain what the strikes do, he continued, “for sure they suppress views and recommendations.”

“I also had many innocuous tweets labeled NSFW or NSFA (not safe for ads) which affect visibility in the timeline,” Rubin reveals.

“Also, there’s an entire KeyWord database so that machine learning makes sure not to promote violence, porn etc., but it’s a mess of overreaching words,” the former Californian writes. “Literally the word ‘gay’ was on the KeyWord list which would make you not advertiser friendly and harm the tweet in the algo.”

Rubin then divulges a disturbing fact: Even if you are unjustly suspended and manage to get the decision reversed, the “suspension strike” action on your account remains active, so you may get a pardon, but you’re still punished.

Amazingly, while running Tesla and SpaceX, Musk is also aware of every issue that his Twitter team is uncovering.

“He thinks maybe the entire code has to be torn down and start from scratch,” Rubin says. “At the end last night he said that the whole situation is ‘a flaming dumpster rolling down the street.'”


Musk’s frustration — and, quite likely, his exhaustion — is apparent.

On Wednesday, he responded to popular YouTuber, Viva Frei, who tweeted, “Twitter seems to have gone from ‘freedom of speech, not freedom of reach’ to outright censorship in no time at all.”

“It is not possible for me to fix every aspect of Twitter worldwide overnight, while still running Tesla and SpaceX, among other things,” Musk replied.

“I assure you they are aware of the problems and Elon and engineers are there all night trying to untie this crazy knot,” Rubin writes. “Some changes they’ve made, like the ‘For You’ tab, have confused people and hurt engagement for accounts who have gotten the NSFA label without knowing.”

“They also don’t know for sure why things got so much better once Elon made the acquisition and why it seems far worse now,” he continued. “Some is probably related to excitement around Elon himself, which also coincided with World Cup, but that doesn’t explain why it feels so off right now.”

Rubin then shared his “personal” take on Musk.

“On a personal note Elon is funny as hell, laughs a ton and it’s just really obvious he cares about Twitter because he cares about free speech and the bigger problems facing the world,” he revealed. “He doesn’t need this headache, he chose it.”

Rubin also gave a “huge shout out to [entrepreneur and VC of Craft Ventures] @davidsacks who is helping Elon clean up this mess because he believes in the fight for free speech as much as Elon does.”

“And massive thanks to the engineers who iopened [sic] up their computers, showed me literally everything I asked for, and were total pros,” he added.

Sacks, who founded Callin, an “all-in-one app for live podcasters,” quote tweeted Rubin’s thread and wrote, “After @RubinReport and other accounts tweeted concerns that their engagement has been suspiciously low recently, @elonmusk invited him to the company to talk with engineers and see what they’re doing about it.”

“I don’t know of any other tech company that is this transparent,” he stated.

Rubin went on to share, “Elon really lit up when we talked about the shifting political landscape and how anyone non-woke is now ‘far right.'”

“That notion is deeply connected to how screwy thing [sic] got at Twitter,” he continued, “and he’s working to fix it despite the huge challenges ahead.”

He then shared a video of the streets of San Francisco and added, “And frankly they gotta get that company out of SF…”

He concluded with an observation about Twitter’s former CEO, Jack Dorsey.

“What’s also really crazy now having seen under the hood is that Jack Dorsey repeatedly said they don’t shadowban,” he noted. “The entire machine behind Twitter is designed to shadowban. It’s almost as if that was the primary goal rather than the product itself.”

Shortly after that tweet, Rubin shared an example of “how crazy things are.”

“A friend just sent the to me,” he tweeted, “watch the RT’s go up and then suddenly go down.”

“Engineer I’ve been working with contacted me on this specifically and said there is a technical reason this happens related to two data centers not syncing,” he later shared. “They’re working on it.”

It was a stunning look behind Twitter’s chaotic curtain — one which earned Musk’s approval.

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