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Twitter Reveals How it Ranks Tweets in Search Results

Twitter Reveals How it Ranks Tweets in Search Results

Twitter has addressed recent accusations regarding shadow banning accounts by explaining how it ranks tweets in search results.

Those who are not familiar with the term “shadow ban” may not understand how it has anything to do with search results. So let’s get everyone up to speed with shadow banning.

Here is how Twitter defines it:

“Deliberately making someone’s content undiscoverable to everyone except the person who posted it, unbeknownst to the original poster.”

Shadow banning is a method of dealing with problematic users which has been made popular by Reddit.

Twitter, however, does not deal with people this way.

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“We do not shadow ban. You are always able to see the tweets from accounts you follow… And we certainly don’t shadow ban based on political viewpoints or ideology.”

Unlike Twitter’s timeline, which is displayed in reverse chronological order, its search results are algorithmically generated.

“We do rank tweets and search results. We do this because Twitter is most useful when it’s immediately relevant.”

Twitter ranks tweets in search results by taking into consideration many signals in order to best organize tweets for the individual user.

The company lists the following as the top ranking signals:

  • Tweets from people a user is interested in will be ranked highly.
  • Tweets that are popular are ranked highly because they are considered to be generally interesting.
  • Tweets from bad-faith actors who intend to manipulate or divide the conversation are ranked lower.
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Twitter addresses the last point by saying that it determines who are “bad-faith actors” based on factors such as authenticity, actions taken on the network, and other accounts they interact with.

There was a need to clear the air about this topic because of a recent issue that prevented accounts from being auto-suggested even when the specific account name was searched for.

Twitter says the issue has since been resolved.


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Matt Southern

Lead News Writer at Search Engine Journal

Matt Southern has been the lead news writer at Search Engine Journal since 2013. With a degree in communications, Matt ... [Read full bio]

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