Twitter and the examples of its “bad use”

Data and methods

As every Web 2.0 application, Twitter is available in Internet. This fact makes easy the research based on statistics. At the same time it is difficult to provide the relevant results based on the statistics from Internet because of many outer factors. Thus, the data for this research was used from the different sources. First, it was the Twitter statistics ”“ this microblogging network has some tools of statistical analysis and publishes the result of regular statistics. Second, he research use statistical data from other researches and analysis.

The main method used in this research is the method of empirical study. Empirical study means the research based on the personal experience along with the results of observations and secondary findings. The empirical description of the qualitative and quantitative researches is provided. Findings of this study are based on this description. The research involves the element of literature-based research; however, the scientific base of the topic is insufficient for such type of research.

All data was collected from open sources without the violation of human rights, and without the violation of privacy in some manner.

However, the ethical side of data collection in the Internet is still the object of hot discussion. Using different Internet service, for example, Twitter, every user provides a large amount of personal information. Some information is provided on voluntary base: user can provide the real name, age, photo, occupation, place of living, marital status, and so on. Many services including Twitter ask users to agree that the information placed on this service can be used without the permission. However, some information is provided more or less involuntary; the search queries, the statistics of visits, the interests to some topics, themes, groups, or persons, and so on. As a rule, users don’t provide the permission to use this information; however, many relevant researches based on this data. Thus, the ethical issue of data use cannot be solved in unquestionable manner.


Literary research allowed defining three main aspects of this analysis: motivation, method, and consequences. Analyzing the examples of “bad use” of Twitter it is necessary to start from motivation. People commit “bad use” for different purposes. For example, in education students can cheat sending the correct test answers through tweets. In 2009 in Germany two members of German Bundestag (Parliament) placed the information about the results of Presidential elections in their Twitters before the official announcement of Horst Köhler as the winner.

However, the motivation of riots in Egypt and Iran was quietly different. They used Twitter because of censorship in mass media and slow response along with limited capacity of other communication methods, for example, mobile phones. The result of Iranian election in June 2009 provoked the riots in the country. Government blocked some other modes of communication, and the riots chose twitter for quick informational exchange and communication with outside world.

Thus, the motivation of “bad use” of Twitter was to enlighten some events in the country. The method of use was immediate informing about all important events through Twitter by many different Twitter users. The consequences were the growing attention of global community to these events and to Twitter. The importance on Twitter as a method of mass communication that time was so great that US State Department decided to ask Twitter executives to delay a planned maintenance. The planned maintenance had to long for 90 minutes, but the shutdown for comparatively short period of time could block the activity of riots. Twitter played the primary role in coverage of conflict. It could be mentioned that Twitter users organized DDos attack on the websites of Iranian government and criticized the official news coverage of the events in the country. Thus, it could be ended that censorship and blockade of other communication channels forced out Iranian riots to use Twitter for communication.

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