Twitter On Possible #WikiLeaks Block: It Isn’t What You Think

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Twitter has responded to accusations of the possible censoring of WikiLeaks hashtags that have hit the blogs this week.

(More on Techland: Who Are The WikiLeaks Hackivists?)

In the wake of big web blocks from Amazon and Paypal, Twitter says it won’t block WikiLeaks-related conversations from trending. In a blog post, Twitter spokesperson Carolyn Penner explained why the site has been left off of the Trending Topics list since its last appearance on Aug. 26. “The Trends list captures the hottest emerging topics, not just what’s most popular, she wrote. Put another way, Twitter favors novelty over popularity.”

It’s not the “most popular” list many might imagine. The site’s algorithm is set up to identify topics that have experienced a recent spike in volume.“Sometimes a topic doesn’t break into the Trends list because its popularity isn’t as widespread as people believe,” Penner wrote. “And, sometimes, popular terms don’t make the Trends list because the velocity of conversation isn’t increasing quickly enough, relative to the baseline level of conversation happening on an average day; this is what happened with #wikileaks this week.”

For now, it seems like Twitter won’t shutter any WikiLeaks conversations, just as Facebook recently vowed that it wouldn’t ban the WikiLeaks’ Facebook page, so long as it abided by the sites terms of use.

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