What I Said
About a week and a half ago, I wrote a post called Why is Twitter Supressing #Occupy Trends. Since then, I’ve read a few articles and plenty of tweets that make similar claims about #occupy trends being censored from Twitter. A few articles have also been floating around refuting those claims, and I’d like to talk about that a little.
Why I’m Talking About it Again
CultureDigitally.org wrote this piece, and it was reposted by Salon.com. It posits that Twitter is not, in fact, censoring anything, and that perhaps we should have a look at how much faith we put in algorithms in general. Good point, CultureDigitally. Bufferapp.com has this informative piece explaining a few things about how the Twitter Trends algorithm really works.
Their Points are Fair
They’re blaming it on the algorithm. (<– Really, click on that link. I think you’ll enjoy what I’ve done there.)
BufferApp’s piece in particular highlights a few things about the Twitter algorithm that could explain the lack of #occupy related trends. Namely, that’s it’s not just how much or how often a topic is tweeted. It’s how many new people tweet it. Justin Beiber is the example everyone hangs their hat on. Tweets with that little fucker’s name apparently blow the roof off Twitter’s most popular list on the daily, but he’s removed from the trends ticker because it’s the same people tweeting, over and over.
They argue that #occupy trends were tweeting briefly when the movement exploded, because a bunch of new people starting discussing it all at once, but that when critical mass hit a plateau, it stopped trending. So…it did trend, but we missed it.
Where I Stand On It
I do feel less hysterical about the censorship than I did before. At this point, in answer to the question:
Do you believe Twitter is censoring #occupy related trends?
I’ll have to answer:
Based on the two articles linked above, I think Twitter is probably not censoring #occupy trends…
But That Does Not Mean We Should Stop Talking About It
Yes, it’s hard to imagine Jack Dorsey slinking into the algorithm office to whisper into some developer’s ear, “Kill the occupy trends, kid, ah yeh gonna wake up with a hawse’s head on yah pillow”. (He’s a Southie in this rendition, can’t say why.) That said, I can tell you from personal experience, that as an employee of a business, when you’re knee deep in the culture of an organization and its needs, it’s easy to lose sight of your personal code of ethics.
From DailyDot.com: “Twitter officials have been adamant in denying the censorship charges and have pointed to the role the service played in this year’s Arab Spring uprisings in northern Africa and the Middle East.”
Yah, shr. I’m sure they are. Adamant. Howeverrrrr…people in positions of power stand to lose more, more directly, from OWS than those same people stood to lose from the Arab spring. Goldman Sachs, for example (in a move so retarded I can’t believe their PR people weren’t flogged afterward) pulled out of a community event they’d previously pledged to support. In short, they’d pledged $5000 to a local credit union, but when they found out the credit union planned to honor OWS, they called backsies and withdrew their donation. If a big bank like this is willing to so publicly do the mean girl thing – if you’re going to HER party, I’m not coming to YOUR party – then I’m back where I started…
…namely…Twitter founder Jack Dorsey’s relationship with major creditors through his connection to Square. Which is a piece of the puzzle none of these other articles addressed. It’s an issue that’s important to keep our collective eyeball on.
Someone at the helm of one of the biggest information-boats out there is in bed with major creditors, in the middle of one of the largest global resistance movements ever, whose focus is aimed at major creditors. This is certainly causing someone, somewhere, a great deal of discomfort.