I was not planning to link to yesterday’s article in Buzzfeed about the Twitter #Pornocalypse news from Monday, because Buzzfeed did that oh-so-annoying thing that mainstream “press” does where they publish a thinly-rewritten version of news that first appeared on adult sites, without crediting any of the sites that broke the story. (In this case that would be Crash Pad Series, Violet Blue, and me.) But, also annoyingly, the mainstream story is typically the one that generates a meaningful response from corporate PR flacks, and that was true this time as well. Buzzfeed’s story is now updated with this news:

According to a Twitter spokesperson, the limited search results on adult content were the result of a bug that occurred during some algorithmic tweaks to Twitter’s search function. “We recently made some changes to improve the algorithm that fetches the most relevant content for Top Tweets in search results.” The spokesperson told BuzzFeed News. “A bug was discovered that caused us to aggressively filter some content from Top Tweets inadvertently. We’re working to correct the issue.” March 17, 2015, at 10:11 p.m.

I’m rather skeptical that this “bug” was actually a bug. If you’ll recall, Tumblr’s David Karp quite implausibly claimed (after a firestorm of user protest) that big portions of their #pornocalypse flirtation back in 2013 were “never intended” and “have been fixed”. My cynical suspicion is that “it was a bug” is becoming the #pornocalypse version of “it was a rogue intern” — the excuse trotted out when a company is embarrassed by something they would prefer had gone unremarked by the world at large.

For what it’s worth, the adult press did a much better job of reporting on this story yesterday:

AVN: Hey Twitter, The Search Query Was For Fisting, Not Fishing!

XBIZ: Twitter Reportedly Clamping Down on Porn Search Results

However, personal memo to Stephen Yagielowicz at XBIZ: it’s sort of cheating to present text that comes from a Twitter FAQ page as comments sourced to “a Twitter spokesperson”. If you didn’t communicate with an actual spokesperson, you’re letting your readers think your information is fresher than it is; and if you did communicate with an actual spokesperson who refused to say anything except to quote from the online FAQ, that would have been newsworthy and worth mentioning!


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