Twitter Changes their Trending Topics
Twitter recently announced that their platform will now be adding more context to their trending topics. The site will not have pinned tweets and short descriptions, providing insights on why certain topics became popular. The social media company has decided to do so in efforts to give users more information on the content that populates their feeds, while also preventing potentially harmful, abusive, and misinformative topics to go viral.
In 2019, over 500 thousand people tweeted “why is this trending?” after topics gained popularity. By implementing these changes, Twitter hopes to give its users an overview of what others are discussing and make their platform a more navigable space for new and current users alike.
Additionally, Twitter has faced many challenges in the past from bots and internet trolls spreading false and misleading information. Examples include white nationalists spreading an anti-Semitic hashtah, QAnon conspiracy theories dominating the trending section, and false claims of Wayfair, a furniture company, being engaged in child trafficking.
For many users around the world, social media platforms such as Twitter serve as a main source for news and current events. Nonetheless, the internet is full of bots and trolls with a goal to spread hateful information, and it can be difficult to discern facts from false claims once a topic goes viral. This point has sparked a conversation among Twitter users to turn off its trending service starting October and through the November election. The hashtag #UntrendOctober calls for Twitter executives to disable their trending topics in efforts to curb misinformation about candidates from spreading. Numerous organizations such as the Mozilla Foundation have started nationwide petitions to end trending topics.
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