Twitter in review 2012: The good, the bad, and the very ugly

Twitter in review 2012: The good, the bad, and the very ugly

Summary: A look back at some of the successes and victories, the bad times and controversies, and the downright ugly failures by Twitter and by its users, during 2012.


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  • Copyright infringing tweets: Now with added transparency

    The good: While it may not look like a 'good' thing on the face of it, it certainly beats how Twitter dealt with copyright infringing tweets before. Previously, it would simply delete the tweet following a Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) notice. Twitter recently said it would replace tweets with a message that the tweet was withheld for copyright reasons in order aid transparency.

    Every company, from Facebook to Twitter and Google, receive DMCA requests on a daily basis. While not all are valid, many are -- and these companies have to react or face legal sanctions. How these companies deal with such requests are under constant scrutiny, so Twitter's move to be a little more open about how it handles such requests -- particularly in an age where many users rely on Twitter for open and free speech -- is crucial for maintaining the company's "the tweets must flow" policy. 

  • Twitter API changes angers developers, slaps ecosystem

    The bad: Twitter angered third-party developers earlier this year when it announced it would add restrictions on its API used for applications and services that use the Twitter platform to run.

    The move means that Twitter is gently nudging users towards its own applications, which could open the microblogging service into running in-application adverts or other ways to monetize the service.

    Applications developers will be given a 100,000-user limit unless Twitter authorizes the changes, leading to major third-party Twitter applications to criticize the move. It follows a long string of changes to the terms of conditions that make it more difficult for developers to take advantage of the vast 140 million-plus user platform.

  • Tweets censored by country; reiterates "the tweets must still flow."

    The bad: The microblogging service announced at the start of the year that it would begin to limit tweets by country, in spite of its "the tweets must flow" mantra, in a bid to avoid legal action. 

    For instance, during the 2011 super-injunctions controversy, many who had taken out privacy injunctions were named on Twitter despite breaking a court order that prevented the entire U.K. population from disclosing information that they weren't privy to in the first place.  Also, in some regions of the world, certain content is barred from publication -- such as Nazi content in Germany.

    Ironically, it turned out that many European countries -- not the Middle Eastern or North African countries, often seen as oppressive or lacking freedom of speech laws -- that took advantage of the new censor-by-country service, including Germany and France. But many said they would boycott the service in protest of the move by the service.

Topics: Social Enterprise, Apple, Censorship, iOS, Security, Smartphones, Software Development, Olympics 2012

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