Is Twitter Actively Censoring Human Rights Activists in Palestine?

Quick background: earlier today, IDF soldiers stormed a relief flotilla/convey headed towards Gaza carrying food, medical supplies, and other relief materials in an attempt to bypass a blockade of the Gaza territories. The raid on the flotilla resulted in the death of 16 aid workers.

A post on twitpic earlier today asks

Can’t get why #flotilla is not trending; censored, why?

and articles on the web search for explanations, since it’s very clear that flotilla is indeed a trending topic, going by the trendistic results (see below).

Some are saying that twitter needs to manually approve trending topics to prevent abuse, etc. but there’s something that doesn’t add up: why is twitter actively blocking searches for #flotilla?

You can check it out for yourself: for the past hour or so, searching twitter for #flotilla turns up the dreaded “Something is technically wrong” page but searching for any other #topic works!

As they say, the proof is in the pudding (images after the jump):

Update #1 İsrail is now appearing on the Trending Topics list, but the search for it also returns a technical error. Reports indicate that these searches are being blocked from the USA (LA-region), Middle East, Sweden, UK, and more. However, search is working from Germany and Denmark. Check back for more updates.

Update #2 According to twitter PR, it was a technical issue and they’ll "post more info" shortly. No sign of that follow-up info yet though.. makes it hard to believe.

Searches for #flotilla:

Searches for #somethingelse:

Flotilla as a trending topic on trendistic:

14 thoughts on “Is Twitter Actively Censoring Human Rights Activists in Palestine?

  1. #flotilla #israel and #gaza are all working for me in New Zealand. Are others still having the problem?

  2. The search for #flotilla, #israel, #gaza, … still works perfectly fine in germany. Can ´t understand why they seem to be actively censored in other states or why they aren ´t censored everywhere now.

    I hope twitter will stop this soon (even if I´m not affected ATM). But far more importend the incident itself should be investigated fast & efficient (lol won´t happen :/ ). It´s a shame what happened.

  3. I imagine that this really is a technical error due to the number of hits the search returns.

  4. The search works fine here, however it’s still not showing as a trending topic.

  5. I did not see any human rights activists on that ship, I saw people attacking IDF soldiers. Sorry.

  6. Great article, thanks a lot. It’s important that bloggers around the world keep posting stuff like this, which is just not the correct behavior for twitter. if enough people write about this, they will hopefully learn that they shouldn’t do any censoring at all.

  7. mmhhhh for me it works, looks like twitter is censoring in addiciton to the IP of the visitor. but all in all twitter should not do this, there is no need for this

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