Sunday, May 23, 2010

Seems that @Twitter has finally reverted. Safe to use RT again.

Several days ago, on approximately May 18th, Twitter made a change to its searches. It began excluding from the search results of any searches initiated (a) by hashtag, or (b) from the homepage search box, any tweets which began with "RT" or which included "RT" anywhere in the body of the tweet.

Many of us complained, and even started a petition.

Several days later it indicated that it was dropping the filter.

The problem disappeared immediately, but then quickly resurfaced and has persisted for several days.

I tested today, however, and the system finally seems to have reverted to the way it was before, which is that traditional retweets containing the term "RT" are now no longer being shunned.

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Thursday, May 20, 2010

Uh oh. @Twitter search continues to filter out retweets! #TR

I've re-tested it, and Twitter has not stopped its pernicious new practice of filtering the RT's out of searches from (a) hashtags and (b) homepage searchbox.

Better go back to using "TR" or "R" or "V" or "Via" etc, until we know what's going on. #TR

My initial report on the subject: "Has @Twitter Declared War on Traditional Retweets?" #TR

Twitter's false statement that it was stopping the practice: "Twitter removes the "RT" filter! #TR"

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Twitter removes the "RT" filter! #TR

Thank you to @low78 for bringing this article from Brad McCarty (@BradTNW) of The Next Web to my attention:
Twitter responds to missing RT’s saga.

Posted by Brad McCarty

We’ve been watching this episode since yesterday. Some Twitter users were noticing that anything with RT in it wasn’t being seen in certain search functions. The community as a whole went into an uproar.

It seems that Twitter heard that message loud and clear......

Complete article

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Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Petition against @twitter 's filtering traditional retweets out of searches #TR

If you're opposed to Twitter's new tactic of filtering traditional retweets which contain the term "RT" out of

1. hashtag searches, and

2. searches in homepage search box

here's a petition you can sign to demand that Twitter stop:

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Well, @Twitter is filtering "RT's" out of hashtag searches.This won't work I believe--> #TR

As it turns out Twitter's ban of traditional retweets, and of tweets carrying an "RT" designation extends not only to homepage search box searches, but also to hashtag searches, making hashtag searches much less valuable, and in some cases next to worthless.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Has @Twitter Declared War on Traditional Retweets? #TR

Update 5/20/10 5:06 pm. I just tested it and Twitter has gone right back to what it was doing before.

IMPORTANT UPDATE: On 5/20/10 I discovered that Twitter heard our voices, and removed the "RT" filter from searches. So we are back to normal.

(Thanks to my friends @lissnup and @dominiquerdr for bringing this issue to my attention:)

We have previously discussed the problem with Twitter's "retweet" button, which has almost none of the properties of the traditional retweet ("Twitter tip: don't use Twitter's pseudo "retweet" button"), and discussed why it is preferable to use the traditional retweet (i.e. those usually signified by beginning them with "RT @Username").

It now appears that Twitter has silently begun a war against traditional retweets, with the first step being to filter them out of search.*



I find this pathetic, and outrageous.

Twitter going to war with its own users.

And doing it in a sneaky, silent, back-door way.

If you use "R" instead of "RT" it will show up okay. So do that, or use some way other than starting your tweet with "RT", to signify your traditional retweet, such as "TR" for "traditional retweet", or "V" for "via". But whatever you do, don't use the term "RT", and edit the "RT"'s which may appear in the body of the tweet. (If you're tweeting about Iran, you should use "V" because the term "TR" is widely in use already, to denote "translated" tweets).

I'm going to use "TR".... to signify that I'm doing a traditional retweet despite their attempt to stamp it out.

And don't forget: if you're retweeting something that already has an "RT" anywhere in its body, you're going to have to edit the "RT"'s, changing them to "R" or "V" or "TR" or anything other than RT.

What a lame organization Twitter is.

*At the moment they appear to be filtered out of (a) homepage search box searches and (b) hashtag searches, but not out of searches through I ran a test of the same search, at the same time, by the home page method and the method: Here's how they came out.

Update 5/18/10 10:19 PM. @Charles of Twitter was asked this question by @Twitter_Tips:
Quick question about changes to Twitter search. Are they intentional, temporary or...? Example:
and gave this answer:
The results in integrated search simply include 'exclude:retweets' automatically. Search.twitter does not do this.
Most significantly Charles was not asked "when was this implemented?" or "why was this implemented?".
I have asked Charles those questions. I can't wait until I get his response. I doubt very much I will get a response.

Update 5/19 1:01 PM. If you're opposed to what Twitter has done and would like to sign a petition against it:

Update 5/19 3:21 PM. I received these responses so far from Charles:

RTs are usually a lot of noise in search results. Excluding them makes the results cleaner and (in most cases) better.
We are constantly improving our algorithms and search quality. We will definitely take your concerns to heart for the future.

I've given him my list of five questions:

Dear @Charles I have 5 questions about Twitter's filtering out traditional retweets from search #TR
1. When was this implemented?
2. Why was it implemented?
3. Why were the customers not consulted?
4. Is this the end, or just the beginning, of trying to distinguish traditional retweets from tweets?
5. Why was it not announced?

I'll let you know if the questions are ever answered.

Commentary & discussion:

The Next Web (French)
Shoq Value
OWNI (French)
Search Engine Land

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