The Anatomy of a Tweet

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“For all the possibilities of APIs, there are also limits. Another tweet field, ‘withheld_copyright,’ if set to ‘true,’ lets you know that a tweet is in trouble—that its content has raised flags and hackles over copyright. The text of the tweet, in that case, may be suppressed. The ‘withheld_in_countries’ field can provide a list of the nations in which the tweet is banned. Another field has a telling name: ‘possibly_sensitive.’ It’s set to either true or false. The field indicates whether a tweet links to potentially offensive things such as ‘nudity, violence, or medical procedures.’ (If ever you wanted a snapshot of our world’s anxieties in three terms, there you have it.) As a user you can check a box on your profile so that the media you link to is automatically flagged this way. If you don’t, you risk having your pictures of your medical procedure marked as objectionable by an offended reader and thus put ‘in review,’ the Twitter version of limbo.”

Paul Ford, in Bloomberg Businessweek, on the metadata of a tweet and what makes Twitter work. Read more from Ford.

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Cover via Richard Turley

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