Twitter’s porn problem is ‘trending’

twitter porn
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News this morning that former New England Patriots player Aaron Hernandez reportedly had committed suicide sent the murderer’s name to the top of Twitter’s “trending” list. Clicking on it brought back a string of tweets that was positively littered with graphic pornography.

041917blog trending Twitter

How much porn? I reported and blocked at least a half-dozen tweets and my rough estimate would be that about 1 in 50 were obscene (the flow has since receded to a trickle). I have been a daily, heavy user of Twitter since 2008 and this is by no means the first time I have encountered porn there. And, yes, it has previously been noticeable in instances where fast-breaking news makes the trending list. However, today’s deluge was by far the most concentrated and, well, offensive.   

(I’m not a prude or anti-porn, I just don’t want to see it on a social media platform I use for work … and that my teenage kids use, too.)

At the time Hernandez was trending, so, too, was the actress Julia Roberts. I clicked on her name and the returned results were with a single exception porn-free. Make of that what you will.

At its height, the Hernandez-tagged porn was troubling enough that I felt compelled to give my followers a heads-up.

041917blog warning tweet Twitter

I was not the only one who noticed today’s porn barrage.

041917blog tweet about porn Twitter

And a search of Twitter on “trending porn” shows what I already knew, that this been a problem for some time.

It’s getting worse – at least according to my eyes -- and Twitter needs to do more to fix it.

I have sent an inquiry to Twitter’s public relations department and will share any reply.[MORE: Jared Kushner did NOT just delete all his tweets]

(Update four hours later: No word from Twitter. Hernandez is still trending, but a scroll through the latest tweets shows no porn, meaning either the porn spammers surrendered or Twitter stepped up its game. I’m guessing the latter, which would at least suggest that Twitter knows how to do this.)

(Update 2: Reply from Twitter: No comment.)

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