Elon Musk has been pulling back the curtains on all the stuff going on behind the scenes at #BigTech companies in the Social Media space. In case you somehow hadn’t heard already, the #TwitterFiles Part 2 was just dropped by Bari Weiss on Twitter. One juicy tidbit that jumped out at me was item #4 on her Tweet Thread, which highlighted Dan Bongino’s account.
What’s really amazing about this screenshot is that it’s clearly a peek at Twitter’s internal systems. This is likely one of the first times that Twitter users have had the opportunity to look behind the scenes and see what they look like to Twitter employees. What stands out about Dan’s account is the various labels that are applied to it. Let’s analyze a few of them.
Well, what do we have here? It’s fun to look at and try to figure out what is meant by this label. I’ve given it some thought this evening and I am operating on the assumption that this “Notifications Spike” label is an indication that there is a notification that will be sent when something Dan posted gets a spike in engagement.
For instance, if Dan posted something and his followers found it very compelling and decided to share it and others started picking it up and doing the same, someone somewhere at Twitter would get a notification of a spike in engagement / virality on his account, at which point they would check what he’d recently posted to see what it was with the expectation that they’d likely drop the hammer on that content and reduce it’s virality going forward.
I have no inside information on this, but if I had to make an educated guess, that’s what I think it means.
Wow… Just wow… I mean, these people aren’t even trying to hide it are they? Blacklists? They have blacklists? They even call them blacklists! So, I’m sure you can figure this one out, but my assumption is that if you try to search for Dan Bongino on Twitter, you would only find imposter accounts. You’d have to actually know Dan Bongino’s Twitter handle in order to be able to find him on Twitter.
This is basically a death knell for anyone on social media. Twitter handles are hard to come by. As you can see from the screen shot, Dan had his from back in 2011. However, Twitter handles aren’t super easy to remember and so often someone trying to find a person on social media will use the search feature. By putting Dan on a Search Blacklist, they heavily prevented people from being able to follow him. You might want to follow Dan, but don’t know his handle. So you search and all you get is parody accounts and imposters. That’s what they did to him… #Disgusting…
This one hurts as well. Again, this is only my assumption, but I would assume that by applying the NSFW View label to Dan Bongino’s account, they are effectively treating the photos he shares as though they are pornography. NSFW stands for “Not Safe For Work”. It’s an indication that you would not want to open the photo on a work computer because it might get you in trouble.
To analyze this, step back and think about when you look at content. Most adults spend a great deal of time at work during the day. Dan Bongino works during the day as well. Often he would share content during the day. So if you were working and checked Twitter on your work computer, or even on your own device, but in a work environment, you might be hesitant to look at a photo that was marked “NSFW” or “Not Safe for Work”. The last thing you want is your company’s IT office, or a fellow coworker reporting you for looking at inappropriate content on the Internet during working hours.
This is an easy way to prevent people from sharing any content that has a photo in it. It should be noted that having an engaging photo tends to help ensure that people actually share your content to others. This NSFW label would have a huge negative impact on the extent to which a tweet with a photo might go viral.
This label has been the subject of much questioning online. What does SPMA mean? A number of people on Twitter have been asking this question, but so far I haven’t been able to find an official answer. Clearly it means something. They wouldn’t have added this label to Dan Bongino’s account if it were not for some purpose or another.
The most likely explanation that I have found for what SPMA might mean was from someone who goes by Cass on Twitter. Their handle is @Cass4D2. They proposed that SPMA might stand for “Special Procedures for Moderating Account.” This is as likely as anything I could come up with.
In her multi-tweet thread, Bari Weiss mentioned that there are multiple reporters that have been given special access to the data behind the Twitter Files releases. As she puts it, “The only condition we agreed to was that the material would first be published on Twitter.” I have to say that this is a master stroke by Elon Musk. One of the biggest stories in the world and the place you have to go in order to get it first is on the platform that is the subject of the story. Frickin’ genius…