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Tweet No Evil: Twitter Censoring Trending Topics


tweetnoevilWere you on Twitter last night? I was—it’s about the only thing I can do while watching my favorite summer show. And Burn Notice was one of the trending topics—among other . . . “less savory” terms. Some of my friends complained about the offensive trending topics; I minimized the list.

But it appears Twitter didn’t just let things stand. Read Write Web reports:

Within minutes (as far as we could tell), both terms were removed from the list on the web interface at Twitter.com. However, they still showed up on third party services such as TwitScoop and Hashtags.org.

RWW’s Julie O’Dell asks whether it was the over sexual nature of the offending tags that made the difference here, since the Trending Topics list is often plagued with the “asinine, spammy, emo, and pointless.”

To many users, the vulgar tags aren’t the biggest problem in the long term—it’s the spammy ones (not to mention the spammy usage of trending topics). Julie asks:

Should there be an algorithm for trends rather than making trending topics a pure numbers game? Should the system be fixed so that #liesboystell doesn’t win out over truly important, significant, or newsworthy content? Should tweets, like images and other kinds of content, be screen for “adult” material and user preferences be set accordingly? Or do trends really belong to the lowest common denominator?

What do you think?

  • http://www.searchenginepeople.com/ Helen Overland

    Why don’t they offer both?

    Most search engines offer a Safe Search… why not a Safe Trends or even Safe Stream feature? Then you can choose which one you want to watch.

    Helen Overland’s last blog post..Ruud Questions: Paul Wylie on Blogging

  • Kim

    I saw the topics last night and had to wonder how at the same time so many people were coming together on Twitter to support freedom in Iran, they could also be playing the let’s all make “un-savory” terms trend. Disappointing at the least.

    Kim’s last blog post..A Simple Way to Keep Up With Your Tweeps

  • Pristina

    Not everyone enjoys the often pedestrian topics that are on Twitter, some do enjoy a little off color humor or topic from time time. I agree there should be a feature that one can place to filter some of the content out as there are children,teens on Twitter.

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