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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  • Twitter renews privacy fight in Occupy Wall Street subpoena

    The good: The Occupy movement remains strong across the United States, particularly in New York. But as police continue to dig for users' data from the microblogging firm, Twitter renewed its defense against a protester accused of disorderly conduct during a protest in October 2011.

    Prosecutors want Twitter to turn any information over, including tweets and email addresses, but the San Francisco, Calif.-based firm remains strong in fighting the subpoena.

    It comes as major technology firms, including Twitter, Google,, Apple and Facebook press for changes to federal privacy laws to reflect the changes in the cloud computing era, despite struggling to make any significant changes as of yet.

  • Olympic breaks records, Twitter smashes some too

    The good: The 2012 London Olympics saw record after record, not just on the track but in terms of the sheer number of tweets during the two week event. During the Olympics opening ceremony, not only did we see HM the Queen 'jump' out of a helicopter after her debut dramatic real-life cameo with Daniel Craig as 'James Bond,' the three hour firework spectacular saw 9.66 million mentions of the ceremony.

    Twitter began recording the volume of tweets between 8.00 p.m. BST through to the end of the delayed U.S. broadcast, more than three hours later, which in turn stirred controversy in itself. The microblogging firm didn't reveal which tweet or trending topic provoked the highest spike in traffic, Web inventor Tim Berners-Lee's "this is for everyone" tweet was retweeted more than 10,000 times in just a few hours after he was mentioned during the ceremony.

  • 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. 

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

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