Twitter: We Aren’t Blocking #wikileaks, #cablegate from Trends

With the controversy over WikiLeaks dominating the news for the past couple of weeks, many people have questioned how hashtags like #wikileaks and #cablegate are not showing up on Twitter Trends. Twitter claims it has done nothing to block any WikiLeaks-related hashtags, with Carolyn Penner from Twitter’s public-relations department writing on the Twitter Blog:

Since Twitter first introduced the Trends feature in the summer of 2008, one frequently asked question has been “Why isn’t X trending?” This question has come up around a variety of subjects, from #justinbieber and #adamlambert to #flotilla, #iranelection, and #demo2010.

This week, people are wondering about WikiLeaks, with some asking if Twitter has blocked #wikileaks, #cablegate, or other related topics from appearing in the list of top Trends.

The answer: Absolutely not. In fact, some of these terms, including #wikileaks and #cablegate, have previously trended either worldwide or in specific locations.

Sometimes a topic doesn’t break into the Trends list because its popularity isn’t as widespread as people believe. And sometimes, popular terms don’t make the Trends list because the velocity of conversation isn’t increasing quickly enough, relative to the baseline level of conversation happening on an average day; this is what happened with #wikileaks this week.