Twitter has officially posted on its blog about the fact that the #wikileaks hashtag has not been continually trending. The topic has been the source of anger among some people who have insisted that the company is censoring its "trending topics", possibly under pressure from the US government.
"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."
The company explains:
"Twitter Trends are automatically generated by an algorithm that attempts to identify topics that are being talked about more right now than they were previously. The Trends list is designed to help people discover the 'most breaking' breaking news from across the world, in real-time. The Trends list captures the hottest emerging topics, not just what's most popular. Put another way, Twitter favors novelty over popularity (as BuzzFeed noted in a great article & infographic earlier this week)."
So what makes a trend a Trend? "Topics break into the Trends list when the volume of Tweets about that topic at a given moment dramatically increases. 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."
It remains to be seen whether that will satisfy the groups that have been grumbling at the lack of visibility for Wikileaks in Twitter's trends.
Meanwhile the Anonymous group that has been targeting Wikileaks antagonists was kicked off Twitter and Facebook overnight - only to reappear, at least on Twitter, under a new name.
Facebook yesterday acted against the group by closing down its Facebook page.
Not long afterwards Twitter suspended the "Anon_Operation" account immediately after it tweeted a link apparently to hacked MasterCard numbers which were being posted to the code site Pastebin.com.
The account had around 22,000 followers at the time. But it rapidly reappeared under a new name, Anon_Operationn, offering links to the Internet Relay Chat servers where the members of the Anonymous group have been planning online attacks against sites and organisations deemed to be antagonistic to Wikileaks.
The latest tweets suggest that Visa was targeted overnight.