Twitter is a great platform for instantaneous news. You watch a story as it develops, and tweet your own views regarding it. This provides a very real time experience. It gives you a first hand, raw view of what is happening . During merry times, people celebrate together on Twitter. But during chaotic times, Twitter can be a double edged sword. Heated debates between two different sides often become ugly. People blame the other side for casualties caused. All this is done without the presence of any party who can mediate and act as an intermediary. Twitter is also blamed for giving spark to many small incidents and turning them into big accidents. Seemingly small things have sometime turned into twitter controversies. Let’s take a look at few.
Twitter Controversies That Made Headlines
In 2011, Twitter was one of the social media websites blamed for spreading the London riots. It is said rioters coordinated violence and disorder on Twitter. On the other hand, some people also claimed that Twitter had nothing to do with it. It was imply played an important role for the media.
In 2014, #GamerGate started targeting females in the gaming industry, especially on Twitter. The hashtag was used by gamers to send misogynistic, hreatening and alarming tweets to developer Zoe Quinn and other females in the industry. It was not taken well be people, particularly females, who took this as an attempt to prevent them from excelling in the gaming industry.
In 2015, Twitter chief Dick Costolo resigned after investors said they were disappointed with the company’s performance. During his time there were slowing user numbers and Twitters wasn’t doing as well as Facebook. Facebook went on to do exceptionally well, and for some reason Twitter hasn’t done as well.
In 2015, Twitter changed the “favourite’ star button to a ‘like” heart button. This gave rise to accusations that it was trying to copy Instagram. The ‘favourite’ button was with Twitter since the beginning. It was a part of their identity.
In February 2016, news did rounds that Twitter was getting rid of site’s chronological order. They were said to be thinking about highlighting tweets people cared the most about. Users voiced their displeasure by using the hashtag #RIPTwitter. Seems like twitter itself is good at creating twitter controversies.
Iran Cyber Attack
On December 17, 2009, Twitter was attacked. A group called the Iranian Cyber Army took responsibility for the hack. It was discovered to be a DNS exploit created to redirect users from Twitter to a page with the follpwing message: “This site has been hacked by Iranian Cyber Army. U.S.A. think they controlling and managing Internet by their access, but they don’t, we control and manage Internet by our power, so do not try to stimulation Iranian peoples to… Now which country in embargo list? Iran? USA? We push them in embargo list. Take care.”
The hijack sabotaged the server that links the Twitter domain name to an IP address. They changed Twitter’s DNS records to an IP address that led to the Iranian Cyber Army page. Digitally, ties between America and the Iranian government had been tense since the country’s election six months prior. Twitter played an important role — which made the media believe the group was affiliated with the Iranian protesters.
Wisconsin Republican state Senate candidate Dane Deutsch tweeted: “Hitler and Lincoln were both strong leaders. Lincoln’s character made him the greater leader whose legacy and leadership still lives on!” Needless to say he lost the upcoming elections.
When the Arab spring started in Egypt, it was headline news the world over. Many people hopped on the revolution bandwagon. Fashion designer Kenneth Cole decided to capitalize on the media frenzy to promote his clothing collection. He tweeted “Millions are in uproar in #Cairo. Rumor is they heard our new spring collection is now available online at http://bit.ly/KCairo -KC” The tweet was mocked for being insensitive and offensive. It even gave birth to a satirical KennethColePR twitter account. “South Africans won’t be able to tear APARTheid my new knits — they’re just that strong! #KennethColeTweets,” one message read. Kenneth Cole gave clarification: “We weren’t intending to make light of a serious situation”. He also apologized on Facebook.
Also Read: Hashtags gateway to global conversation
Courtney Love’s Lawsuits
She has contributed to twitter controversies twice. Seems like she has a thing for them. She paid an undisclosed amount of money to settle a lawsuit that said she had defamed a fashion designer on Twitter. She again got into problems when San Diego law firm called Gordon & Holmes, filed a suit which said she made defamatory statements about them on Twitter. She was mad that the law firm refused to take her as a client as they had worked together before. She fired the firm after the request that she should abstain from substance abuse during work.