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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  • 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.

  • British former politician wrongly named as pedophile after BBC programme

    The ugly: Twitter wrongly named former British politician Lord McAlpine as a pedophile after being falsely identified as a child abuser by a victim during the 1970s on a BBC Newsnight program. While the program or the victim did not directly implicate the politician, many took to Twitter after the broadcast to start guessing and naming-names.

    The victim subsequently withdrew his allegations, claiming that it was a case of mistaken identity, but it did not stop the British peer, who now sits in the U.K. House of Lords, from bringing lawsuits against potentially thousands of Twitter users who spread or retweeted the false information across the microblogging site.

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

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