A Twitter Watchdog? Please

No doubt conservatives will be up in arms over this potential governmental intrusion into a private-sector business. From the Associated Press:

When people sign up for Twitter, the popular social-networking site presents a list of suggested users to follow, driving significant traffic to sports figures, celebrities, politicians and other prominent posters.

In California, the list has attracted the attention of political watchdogs because it apparently favors Democrats over Republicans in next year’s race for governor. …

Such apparent favoritism does not violate any California campaign regulations, but it has caught the attention of the state’s watchdog agency. The California Fair Political Practices Commission has formed a committee to examine how campaigns intersect with social media and to determine whether additional regulations are necessary.

Honestly, what regulations would be appropriate here? Twitter is a private business. It’s not a public trust. Can’t it do what it wants as long as it does so within the law? Also, who really cares about Twitter’s suggested user list? Is that really going to sway a voter with a triple-digit IQ? It’s just so silly.

Sadly, all this whining appears to be having an effect:

Speaking at the Web 2.0 Summit in San Francisco last week, Twitter chief executive and co-founder Evan Williams said he wants to get rid of the company-selected favorites.

“The suggested user list has been controversial for a while,” Williams said. “It’s gone on too long, and I desperately want to kill it or evolve it.”

And then it will be on to the next egregious social networking injustice.

Publish date: October 28, 2009 https://dev.adweek.com/digital/a-twitter-watchdog-please/ © 2020 Adweek, LLC. - All Rights Reserved and NOT FOR REPRINT