At present, being shadowbanned is the least of Andrew Tate’s problems, considering he was recently detained in Romania under allegations of being involved in human trafficking. Yet, Twitter, who had banned the social media influencer from their platform last year only to unban him following Elon Musk’s takeover of the bird app, shadowbanned him last week likely out of a desire to not look foolish for un-banning him a few months ago.
What is shadowbanning? When a social media platform shadowbans someone, it means they are eliminating that person’s account from being searchable on the platform. Basically, they are hiding the account from everyone instead of banning it entirely. Even if you type in their specific account name, it will not show up at all, despite the fact that the account still exists.
Last week, we reported that Andrew Tate’s Twitter account was being shadowbanned. Furthermore, if you typed in his account name, @cobratate, the only suggestion that would come up was to follow Greta Thunberg. Imagine that: Twitter trolled Tate by eliminating him from searches and replacing him with his recent social media rival instead. It was comical.
However, it’s also discriminatory. Twitter clearly refuses to outright ban Tate again, at least for now. Perhaps they’re waiting for the outcome of the human trafficking investigation against him. That makes sense, but shadowbanning him — or anyone —though legal, is an extremely dishonest way for a platform to act upon its own partisanship.
Over the weekend, many others also started to realize that Twitter shadowbanned Andrew Tate. It’s as if his account disappeared altogether. In fact, the only way to confirm that he wasn’t actually completely banned was if you were already following him or, if you weren’t, to find a tweet from someone else who happened to tag @cobratate in a post and then you could access his account from there.
Elon Musk must’ve taken notice to those who tweeted about it because, as of today, Andrew Tate’s account is suddenly accessible again. Not only is he no longer shadowbanned but Greta Thunberg is no longer suggested at all when searching for Tate’s account, nor should she be.
Yet, the bigger question here might be that, if Andrew Tate is guilty of the human trafficking allegations against him, will Musk ban him from Twitter and not just shadowban him again? In that case, a ban would clearly be warranted.
Regardless, most can probably agree that the act of shadowbanning, with irony as an obvious witness, should indeed itself be banned.