Can you see me?

We realized on Friday that the @NJUNITED twitter account wasn’t doing so well. In fact, even after a retweet and reply from an account that had over 67k followers, we still were not gaining any traction for getting people to to sign our COVID-19 Mandates petition and explore the new site. We found something pretty disturbing going on with our Twitter account.

On Friday May 28th the site was published for all to see. As well, the @NJUNITED Twitter account started posting about the COVID-19 Mandates petition to start spreading the word. Our goal was to try and get some retweets from established accounts with a large following, and we did! Tricia Flanagan (@NewDayForNJ), a candidate who has 67k followers replied and retweeted @NJUNITED -and we were thrilled.

After the retweet and reply, we continued to tweet about the Memorial Day Go-Live of After a while we realized that the likes and retweets had gone stale for @NJUNITED. By this time we had flooded any NJ twitter account we could find, and even asked more accounts with large followings to retweet. However, we did not get a single retweet even after a 24hour period. Thinking this couldn’t be right, we then started asking local friends to check out our account and to make sure they could see us on Twitter. What we found was very disturbing.

It turns out that the stories about something called “Shadow Banned” are true. After some research we learned, this is the process of limiting what users can see based on the programming behind the scenes. For example, the user would see anything they post, but other users may not. This would explain why users thinking they posted something very popular, funny, interesting etc., saw only a small number of retweets, likes, and/or replies. We know this sounds a little crazy, so we figured some pictures would help.

What @NJUNITED can see on Twitter

What other users can see on Twitter

After using the #’s #njliberty, #njunited, and #nj in the screenshots above for over 60 tweets, we had other users check to see if they could find them. They not only did not see them, they had trouble finding our account in general. Notice in the bottom left corner of the first picture below, that it shows “Go to @njunited”. However, it’s not listed in the search. In the second picture after pressing “Enter” to complete the search, @njunited isn’t listed as an option, even though the search is for the exact name “njunited”. Once the account was followed by the user, the search options included the @njunited user.

We are going to try another platform later today and we will post the account names once they are established and available. Thank you for reading and being patient as we find ways to connect and get the word out about and our first petition of what may need to be many, as we try to make our communities better for the future of New Jersey.