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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  • Journalist suspended from Twitter after NBC criticism

    The bad: Twitter landed itself in hot water after it suspended the account of a British journalist after criticizing the coverage of the Olympic Games.

    Twitter had partnered with U.S. network NBC to create a curated Olympics event page for its users. However, The Independent journalist Guy Adams called the U.S. network "utter b**tards" for delaying the broadcast of the Olympic Games opening ceremony and other events. He then tweeted an NBC executive's email address and found his account swiftly suspended.

    Some had questioned whether Twitter's relationship with NBC over the Olympics coverage had anything to do with it. Twitter remains quiet on the matter, despite the lingering "ethical issues relevant to journalism," Adams later described in a following newspaper column.

  • Israel tweets Gaza assault, dubs it #PillarOfDefense

    The ugly: Things took a turn for the worst in the Middle East after Israel launched "Operation Pillar of Defense" against the Gaza Strip earlier this month. But it took the unusual step by tweeting the operation as it went along.

    "The [Israel Defense Force] has embarked on Operation Pillar of Defense," the IDF's spokesperson tweeted on November 14. Within minutes, #PillarofDefense and #IsraelUnderFire started to trend on the microblogging site. The IDF Twitter account began to detail where the country was targeting and dishing out facts and figures on the ongoing operation.

    Hamas, the ruling party of the Gaza Strip, also tweeted in return fire. Both using graphical propaganda, the conflict in the region was not just a war on the ground with rockets flying back and forth over the two country's borders, but also a war of words on the microblogging site. 

  • Twitter embroiled in iOS/Android contact upload brouhaha

    The ugly: Twitter was criticized for failing to make clear what it does with your data, particularly personal and sensitive data, after a string of iOS- and Android-related data uploading controversies. Facebook and Path were both embroiled in the row, and Twitter was no exception.

    The microblogging site admitted that it stores user contact details, such as phone numbers and email addresses, for up to 18 months when a user access the "Find friends" feature. Twitter quickly fixed the privacy fumble in a later version of the mobile device software.

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

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