Twitter users reported on Wednesday that whenever they searched for words such as “a**hole,” “racist,” “fascist” and “bigot” on the micro-blogging site, the top result was President Donald J. Trump. However, the company has manually changed all of this, as Trump is no longer the top result.
Was Twitter’s algorithm confused?
Gizmodo asked a Twitter spokesperson if this was a glitch or prank, but the spokesperson declined to comment about the working of the search algorithm.
A historian named Greg Jenner was among the first to notice the strange search results. He tweeted telling people to search for the word “a**hole” in Twitter’s search bar. Jenner co-hosts Inside Versailles and is a consultant on the comedic history show Horrible Histories.
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Haha, type "asshole" into Twitter's search bar. Do it.
— Greg Jenner: 'DEAD FAMOUS OUT NOW!' (@greg_jenner) January 26, 2017
The President could be deeply hurt by this act of Twitter-bombing. There have already been reports of how Trump’s special weekend was ruined by mean tweets about the crowd size at his inauguration. Maggie Haberman, a New York Times reporter, tweeted that Trump woke up at 7 a.m. on Saturday and called several aides and advisors about the National Parks Service re-tweeting images of his small inauguration crowd.
Remember the Bush era “googlebomb”?
This sounds similar to the Bush-era “googlebomb,” notes Gizmodo. At that time, when people used to search for words like “failure” or “miserable failure” on the search engine, it gave the then-president’s official biography page. Marissa Mayer, a Google executive at the time, wrote a blog post in 2005 to explain the working of the practice.
“In this case, a number of webmasters use the phrases [failure and miserable failure] to describe and link to President Bush’s website, thus pushing it to the top of searches for those phrases. We don’t condone the practice of googlebombing, or any other action that seeks to affect the integrity of our search results, but we’re also reluctant to alter our results by hand in order to prevent such items from showing up,” Mayer’s post read.
Users continue to report more words returning Trump’s profile as top results, like “Putin,” “golden showers” and “tiny hands.” As of this writing, Twitter hasn’t changed all of them, as “golden showers” and “tiny hands” still show Trump’s profile at or toward the top of the search results. Hillary Clinton wasn’t spared either. When the word “corrupt” was searched, her name showed on the top of the search results, although this has been changed like many of the words that previously pointed to Trump.