Many people don’t use Twitter search, so Twitter has worked hard to get more “average” users to try it, particularly by putting various search results on the “Discover” tab.
But for those users that rely on and regularly use Twitter search, there is a problem: Twitter search doesn’t show all tweets by default.
The solution is to click “All” (instead of the default “Top”) to see all tweets. But now, Twitter does NOT even offer that option on the mobile website!
Since mobile is the only access many people use when they connect to Twitter, is this censorship?
99% of Tweets Missing?
As one user pointed out, even a popular hashtag with 20 tweets every two minutes or so might only show just 20 tweets in the past several days—that’s hundreds of missing tweets Twitter won’t show you.
I get that Twitter is trying to simplify and popularize different features, but if I had a document where 99% of the words went missing because the software wanted to “simplify” it for me, I’d be pissed.
Twitter has made search work more like “Discover” where they want to find a few things that might interest you, and hide everything else. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if they removed or further hid the “all” option from the main website and left it only available through the API, so that you had to use apps to access search results.
Twitter obviously doesn’t even want new mobile users to know that they can find all tweets, saying in effect “we have all the information, but you don’t need to know that most of it exists.”
So now that Twitter has just shown their willingness to hide most tweets, what if Twitter removes the “all” option from the main site and the API and it no longer exists in public anywhere?
Twitter is famously opposed to governments telling them to release private data about users, and always fights at the minimum to make such requests public. So Twitter fights governments on behalf of users. But if Twitter itself takes away our access to see all tweets, who can we complain to?
Of course, Twitter will sell you access to all tweets through its partners. Could this mean Twitter will one day make viewing “all” tweets available only to people that pay?
When Google used to have a social media search option included all tweets, they were paying Twitter a lot for the privilege. And Twitter dropped their contract with Google as soon as they could, and have been opposed to reinstating it (with many different reasons given)
Selling access to tweets is already a big money-maker for Twitter (it used to be their main source of profit). Might they be planning to only make access all tweets available to Twitter partners, or through paid “premium” Twitter accounts?
The Value Of Search
Complete search results are disappearing right and left.
Google in fact followed Twitter’s lead, and made the “all” search results never come up by default. What you see in Google nowadays is something called “Search Plus Your World.” You have know what icon to click to see the old, complete search results.
Facebook uses what they call their “Edgerank algorithm” to hide many status updates from you. There is a whole industry built around teaching you how to get your Facebook status message to break through the algorithm so that more people will see it.
Access to complete and accurate information is getting harder and harder to come by, which, considering the potential of the internet to provide access to information, is amazing.
Part of the bright promise of the internet was access to information for the average person. But social media creates false rumors that spread like wildfire, clutters up our feeds with misleading and useless information, and now more and more won’t let us even search through all available information.
I’ll tell you frankly, I don’t like the direction things are heading.