A report by SD Times yesterday tried to call attention to a suspected practice by Twitter to label users as “anti-social”, thus removing their tweets from search results on the site.

In the article, SD Times says:

Is this an egregious abridgement of free speech, or simple way of making Twitter less abrasive? One thing’s for sure, there is no rhyme nor reason to what Twitter feeds are being deemed “anti-social,” and that is the real source of concern here.

I reached out to Twitter on the matter and it turns out that there is no official practice of labeling users as “anti-social” as I suspected. However, Twitter says that they absolutely do remove certain content from search results and the reasons why are publicly posted on its terms of use.

The response from Twitter was:

We do have search best practices — outlined here. And, users who are not in compliance with those best practices may not show up in search results. There’s also a page on how to contact Support if you believe your account is mistakenly not showing up in search.

For whatever reason, people think that an open box on a website means that they can say or do anything with little or no repercussions. That is most certainly not the case, and I applaud Twitter for taking actions to clean up its search results.

In case you’re wondering, here are the reasons why your tweets might not end up in search results:

We caution against aggressive behaviors and suggest that you stay away from:

- Repeatedly posting duplicate or near-duplicate content (links or tweets)
- Abusing trending topics or hashtags (topic words with a # sign)
- Sending automated tweets or replies
- Using bots or applications to post similar messages based on keywords
- Posting similar messages over multiple accounts
- Aggressively following and un-following people

Twitter may automatically remove accounts engaging in these behaviors from search (or even suspend in some cases) in order to ensure the best experience for everyone.

Go ahead and drop your conspiracy theories, folks. There’s nothing to see here but a well thought out practice of keeping Twitter search results clear of garbage. If you think your tweets aren’t showing up in search and you’re wondering why, just contact Twitter support.