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Twitter’s Algorithm Goes Haywire, Inadvertently Gives New York Times A Trumpian Nickname


Twitter’s algorithm suffered a glitch Wednesday that directed users to the The New York Times’ account when they composed a tweet with the words “Enemy of the People.”

“This is a bug in our search typeahead system limited to desktop that we are working to fix. The issue is that for some search queries the word ‘People’ is linked to @NYTimes,” Twitter spokeswoman Katie Rosborough told The Daily Caller News Foundation.

Users got a similar response when they typed “Fake News Media” into their cue, which directed people to the Media Matters’ account.

The glitch occurred on the same day a Twitter executive was answering questions from senators about the supposed political bias in the company’s algorithms. Carlos Monje Jr., Twitter’s director of public policy and philanthropy, evaded questions Wednesday during a Senate Judicial Committee hearing about whether the social media company is willing to subject itself to an independent audit.

Conservatives say Twitter is targeting them because of their politics. Recent reports have only worked to exacerbate those concerns. The Silicon Valley company said in March that it “mistakenly remove[d]” a tweet from The Federalist co-founder Sean Davis about Lisa Page’s congressional hearing.

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Tech experts have long believed Twitter and Facebook’s algorithms are not up to the task of effectively moderating social media platforms. Both companies tend to ding legitimate forms of conservative content when trying to remove objectionable material from their platforms, experts say.

“If Facebook came out and was transparent, that would be one thing, but a lot of people are arrogant and don’t want to admit their algorithms are imperfect,” Emily Williams, a data scientist and founder of Whole Systems Enterprises, told TheDCNF in March, referring to reports suggesting that Facebook is deboosting conservative content.

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