Twitter protects popular Twitter users with Project Guardian
Twitter protects popular Twitter users with Project Guardian

The most popular Twitter users, those with a large number of followers or a certain reputation, are usually given high levels of protection from social media content brokers as part of a confidential program designed to limit their exposure to trolls.

Project Guardian's internal software, Code Guardian, lists thousands of accounts that could be attacked or harassed on the platform, including professional politicians, journalists, musicians and athletes.

When someone reports abusive posts or messages about these users, Twitter's content review system prioritizes those reports, meaning the company reviews them faster than other reports in the industry.

Twitter said its rules are the same for all users. However, Project Guardian makes sure that any potential issues with high profile accounts are addressed before complaints are lodged by anyone outside the program.

Most of the members of this VIP group do not even know that they are one of them, and their goal is to remove objectionable content that has the greatest impact and is most likely to spread across networks.

They also help protect the Twitter experience of those known users, which increases the likelihood that they will continue to tweet.

“Project Guardian is just an internal name for one of the many automated tools we use to identify potentially offensive content,” said Katrina Lin, Vice President of Twitter Services responsible for the program. The same method is used to protect all users of the Service.

Twitter Security Director Yoel Roth said the list of users protected by Project Guardian changes regularly and does not only include popular users.

The software is also used to protect people who are casually exposed to controversial tweets or sudden targets.

This means that it will temporarily add some Twitter users to the list while catching the world's attention. The rest is almost always on the list.

Twitter has over 200 million daily users, and there are too many abuse reports to solve all of these issues at once.

This means that several different data points are used to prioritize the report, including the number of subscribers a user has, the number of tweets viewed, or the likelihood of relevant tweets.

Premium Twitter users get special treatment

One such signal is the inclusion of an account in Project Guardian. Project Guardian has been used to protect users from various activities.

The company uses Project Guardian to protect its employees, including Roth. After the company first verified the facts of President Donald Trump's tweets in May 2020. Trump and his supporters chose Rose to be the contributor to the decision.

This led to attacks and death threats. Roth said it was temporarily added to the Project Guardian roster at the time. Rose mentioned that he was suddenly more famous than the day before. He said he was pulled from the plan after the harassment subsided.

Accounts can be added to the list in several ways. Including suggestions that company employees may witness user attacks and request additional protection.

In some cases, the manager or agent of a popular Twitter user goes to the company and asks for additional protection. Social media officials at news outlets also called for additional protections for colleagues who write controversial articles. Participating users may not know that they receive extra attention.

The software is another example of a social media platform that treats certain users and popular accounts differently.

A report in the Wall Street Journal found that Meta has special exceptions to certain rules for some well-known users. If the content of these people comes from someone else, it will be flagged or removed.

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