from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Globe icon of the infobox
Website logo
Microblogging service
languages multilingual
operator Twitter Inc. , San Francisco , United States
United StatesUnited States 
editorial staff Jack Dorsey
Noah Glass
Biz Stone
Evan Williams
user 330 million (active monthly) (as of December 2017)
Registration Yes (write posts, follow users, forward other posts, favor, authorize programs)
Annual income $ 732 million (2017)
On-line March 21, 2006
Twitter lettering (former logo)
former trademark of Twitter: the blue bird "Larry"
Software developer and Twitter inventor Jack Dorsey
Internet entrepreneur Evan Williams is also the founder of
Graphic artist Biz Stone
Twitter founders Biz Stone and Jack Dorsey in 2008, receiving a TechCrunch award for the best mobile startup
First notes and ideas from inventor Jack Dorsey, March 2006

Twitter ( English for singing is) a micro-blogging service company Twitter Inc. on Twitter, registered users can telegram-like short messages spread. The messages are called "tweets" (from English to tweet " twitter ").


Twitter was founded in March 2006 under the name “twttr” and quickly gained popularity worldwide: The first “tweet” was sent on March 21, 2006 by co-founder Jack Dorsey with the content “just setting up my twttr.”. In autumn 2006 the service became part of the parent company Obvious.

In April 2007, Twitter Inc. was founded by Jack Dorsey , Biz Stone and Evan Williams and thus spun off from the previous parent company Obvious. Twitter saw steady growth; In 2010 alone, around 100 million new users registered.

Since April 2010 Twitter has an app for smartphones and tablets . Today there are apps for Android , iOS , Windows Phone , Blackberry , Firefox OS and some Nokia phones available. In April 2010, Twitter had 105 million active users, in September 2011 200 million and in the second quarter of 2015 304 million.

In June 2012 the Twitter logo ("Larry the bird") was fundamentally changed. It has been monochrome since then and is still used today.

In November 2013, Twitter Inc. went public, a month earlier Twitter had around 218 million active users.

Originally, Twitter was as SMS developed -based platform stems from even the character limit of 140 characters , in October 2015 were however increasingly rumors, Twitter wants to dissolve or the limit of 140 characters for a tweet at least provide a possibility of directly extended on the platform Include texts. In March 2016, Jack Dorsey announced that he would stick to the 140-character limit. However, on September 19, 2016, Twitter relaxed the 140-character limit. In the future, "attached photos and videos as well as quoted tweets would no longer be counted towards the total length of your own post and thus no longer shorten the remaining space." In addition, the company started a test with messages in twice the length of the previously possible length of 280 characters . Defined user groups should test this function in all languages ​​except Japanese, Chinese and Korean. In any case, only very short messages would be “tweeted” in these languages.

Characterization of the service

Twitter is defined as a communication platform, social network or mostly publicly accessible online diary . Private individuals, organizations, companies and the mass media use Twitter as a platform to distribute short (max. 280 characters) text messages (tweets) on the Internet. In contrast to Facebook , contact with known friends is not the focus.

As a centrally operated service, Twitter can be censored - in contrast to decentralized platforms such as Tweets can therefore be deleted by both the author and the platform operator. Like the operation, the development of the platform is also centralized, in contrast to platforms like Mastodon , which publicly document the entire source code and the ActivityPub protocol used.


Registration on Twitter

To register, three pieces of information not previously used on Twitter are required: an e-mail address , a profile name (that is the user name) and a telephone number to verify the account. When registering, a “full name” is asked for, but this is apparently primarily used to display this information along with various others in the profile. In contrast to Facebook, a real name is not expected. It is also possible to change the name and the @ user name as often as you like later. A password is also required.


The maximum length of a tweet has been increased to 280 Unicode characters (previously 140) since November 2017 . By default it is public, so it is also visible to unregistered readers. It can contain hashtags (with #), links (as URL ), references to other user profiles (with @) as well as images (as URL or directly inserted) and locations. Tweets are primarily displayed to the so-called “followers” ​​of a user, but a broader audience can also be reached via hashtags or links / retweets.

The contributions are often written from the first-person perspective and can have completely different content; often personal opinions and current activities are published. Conversations are also held with other users. The latter then leads to a thread that can be viewed individually. Since December 2017, several tweets (max. 25) from a user can be linked to "threads". This should give users the opportunity to publish longer posts. The contributions of other users can be favored (" liked "), distributed further through your own user account ("shared" / "retweeted") or commented on with your own tweet. The authors themselves are referred to as “twitterers” or “tweeters”, less often as “tweeps”.

The microblog is a real-time medium for presenting opinions and aspects of one's own life. Comments or discussions from readers on a post are possible for those who have a Twitter account, which means that a limited form of communication is possible. The activity of writing on Twitter is referred to as “tweeting”, the list of subscribed contributions is often referred to as “timeline” or “TL” for short. Originally, the tweets were displayed chronologically on Twitter. From February 2016, the order of the tweets in the timeline was "optimized" by an algorithm so that users could optionally have their tweets sorted by relevance. In September 2018, Twitter announced that it was working to create an easily accessible way for users to switch between a timeline with the most important tweets and a timeline with the latest tweets.

It is possible to make all tweets only available to accepted followers, this option is called protected tweets .

On January 8, 2010, the American Dialect Society chose the term tweet as Word of the Year 2009 .


A hashtag (e.g. #wikipedia) is a term in the form of a tag that highlights a word or a string of characters in a tweet. The name comes from the double cross "#" ( English hash ), with which the term in question is marked. In contrast to other tag concepts, hashtags are inserted directly into the actual message. Therefore, in a tweet, all terms preceded by a pound sign are interpreted as tags by Twitter. The hashtag can consist of letters and digits, but it cannot contain punctuation marks or spaces .


If you want to share a tweet with your followers, you can "retweet" it (from retweet , a neologism that emerged in the 2010s). Twitter offers an integrated retweet function for this. You can also quote tweets. This enables a retweet with a comment. In German Twitter jargon, retweets with comments are occasionally referred to as "over-comments", or DrüKos for short , (analogous to " under comments", DruKos ).


Users have the option of “liking” or “faving” a tweet. This was shown until November 3, 2015 with a small star symbol, the so-called "Favstar" (Eng. "Favorite Star"). It has now been replaced by a small heart symbol. The reason for the change was that many Twitter users have already used the "Favstar" to "like" a tweet because they know it from Facebook or Instagram . Users have different motivations for "liking", but they usually express that they like something, that they agree or they support something.


If you want to be informed about contributions from other users in the future, you can “follow” them. So you subscribe to the user accordingly, and his tweets are then displayed in your own timeline . A user who follows another is referred to as a "follower" (from English follow "to follow").

Own lists

A list can be created in order to display the contributions of a self-defined group of users. To do this, you look for a short list name (maximum 25 characters), create a short description and determine whether the list should be private (access only by the list creator) or public (anyone can subscribe to the list). A public list can also be viewed without a separate Twitter account, provided the associated URL is known.

Direct message

Not all communication has to be public on Twitter, it is also possible to send other users private direct messages. Users can set whether they want to receive messages only from following users or from all Twitter users.


In July 2012, Dick Costolo announced a function that would allow all of a user's tweets to be exported to a file. This enables users to archive their tweets and retweets on their own computer. At the end of December 2012, the function was activated for all twitterers.

More functions

Complementors make the messages published via Twitter available via a programming interface (API) so that the updates can be called up on various channels by many services and fed back in from there. Communication technologies such as SMS (United States, Canada and India only) are available to the user . In August 2008, Twitter stopped sending SMS text messages outside of the United States, Canada, and India. Simple input assistance is also available via the Twitter website ( RSS ) or desktop software.

A Twitterwall can be used at events - a “wall” on which tweets are projected for a predetermined, standardized hashtag so that they can be read by all participants.

Since May 2012 it has been possible to have the best tweets of the week sent to you by email. In this way, the user receives an overview of the most relevant tweets from the accounts he is following, or those that have been shared or commented on particularly frequently by subscribed accounts. In June 2012 it became known that links from various media in tweets will in future contain previews and images.

A button with a bell can be used to display new tweets from certain users as push notifications on the smartphone via the app.

Via Twitter's own mobile application Periscope , users have the option of direct video transmission ( live streaming ) from their mobile phones.


Twitter uses Java to create websites. The Message Queue , which is responsible for forwarding the actual messages, was originally written in Ruby . However, this had to be rewritten due to scaling problems , which was done in the Scala programming language . For the interface design, Twitter uses a specially developed UI framework called Bootstrap , which is made available to the general public as an open source project.


The Twitter API allows Twitter to be integrated into other web services and applications. In addition to specialized clients such as Seesmic Desktop , Twitter can also be used in various other programs, for example in the customer relationship management service , the instant messaging client services Adium , Digsby or in the Flock browser. In addition to Facebook , T-Mobile USA has also integrated Twitter into its Sidekick mobile phone .

Additional information about the sender and recipient group can be displayed using extensions, such as the respective location on the Google Maps map service .

Tweets with location data (from Twitter Streaming API) during the 2011 Virginia earthquake

With specialized clients like TweetDeck messages can be presented more clearly. This way, you can keep track of things even with multiple Twitter accounts.

On April 9, 2010 it was announced that Twitter had taken over the developer of the mobile client Tweetie and would like to offer an application for the Apple iPhone free of charge in the future . The official Twitter application appeared in the App Store on May 19, 2010 .

Overview of clients (selection)

  • Fenix ​​(for Android )
  • Echofon (for iOS and Android )
  • Gwibber (pre-installed from version 10.04 of Ubuntu)
  • Hootsuite (for Android , iOS )
  • Hotot (For Linux)
  • Rainbowstream (For Linux)
  • MetroTwit (for Windows)
  • Osfoora (for iOS , Mac OS )
  • Peep (for Android with HTC Sense )
  • Phnx (for HP webOS )
  • Plume (for Android )
  • Seesmic (for Android, iOS, Blackberry , Windows Phone 7 , Windows and Mac OS, successor to Twhirl )
  • SharedMinds Desktop (for Windows)
  • Sparrow (for HP webOS )
  • Spaz (for HP webOS )
  • Tweetbot (for iOS and Mac OS)
  • TweetComb (for Android, well suited for Android tablets)
  • Tweetdeck (for Android, iOS, Windows, Mac OS and Linux )
  • Tweetian (for Sailfish OS )
  • Tweetings (for Mac OS, iOS, Windows and Google Chrome )
  • Tweettime (for iOS)
  • Twicca (for Android)
  • Twitdroyd (for Android)
  • twittAmiga (for AmigaOS )
  • Twitter for Mac (formerly Tweetie) (for Mac OS)
  • TwitterNeighbor
  • Twitterrific (for Mac OS, iOS)


In 2007, Twitter was reachable approximately 98 percent of the time, that is, for a total of seven full days. Twitter's downtime was particularly noticeable during well-attended technology industry events, such as the Macworld Conference & Expo opening address in 2008.

In May 2008, the software architecture was adapted to the growth of the service, but stability problems led to downtimes or the temporary removal of functions. In August 2008, Twitter temporarily withdrew the free SMS services for most of the world.

technical security

The first security breach on Twitter was reported on April 7, 2007 by Nitesh Dhanjani. The problem arose because Twitter used the sender details of an SMS as authentication for a user account. Nitesh used a free text messaging service to tamper with a text message, which prompted Twitter to spread the message on behalf of the victim. This vulnerability can only be exploited if the victim's phone number is known. A few weeks after this discovery, Twitter introduced an optional PIN to authenticate SMS messages.

On March 20, 2009, another vulnerability was discovered after Twitter had recently been able to solve a problem with falsified SMS updates, at least temporarily. The new vulnerability is a cross-site scripting vulnerability that, in principle, even a worm could exploit.

On September 21, 2010, the Twitter web interface was the victim of a cross-site scripting attack using the JavaScript command “onmouseover”. This prompted the users to partially automatically redistribute the unwanted content among their followers, similar to the distribution of a computer worm . The effects did not affect the use of the service via apps or clients. According to initial media reports, a bug in the short URL service "" from Twitter led to the client-side execution of the Javascript code.

In May 2018, the company announced that user account passwords had been saved unencrypted or unmasked in a directory file. According to Twitter, the bug was discovered internally and fixed; There are no indications of abuse or data theft . For security reasons, the company asked its users to change their passwords. The company did not disclose how many of the more than 300 million Twitter accounts were affected by the vulnerability.


Twitter collects personal data of its users and shares them with third parties. Twitter sees this information as an asset and reserves the right to sell it if the company changes hands.

In May 2011, after a lawsuit in a Californian court, Twitter handed over the IP addresses, mobile phone numbers, email addresses and other data of several user accounts to the local council of South Tyneside , England, probably for the first time, in order to identify the originator of insults against council members to identify.

Since mid-May 2012 it has been possible to deactivate the collection of personal data using the Do-Not-Track header field (DNT) in some browsers. This was welcomed by Mozilla , the inventors of the DNT field.

In July 2020, Twitter announced that the company would stop disclosing data to Hong Kong authorities while the company was evaluating the Hong Kong National Security Law imposed by the Chinese government.


Twitter headquarters in San Francisco (2015)

Founder Evan Williams raised approximately $ 22 million in venture capital to operate and expand his service. Twitter is funded by Fred Wilson's Union Square Ventures , Digital Garage , Spark Capital, and Jeff Bezos ' Bezos Expeditions . The Industry Standard cited the lack of revenue as a threat to long-term viability. In 2008, Twitter did not sell advertising or generate any income.

On September 12, 2013, the company filed a prospectus with the US Securities and Exchange Commission as a requirement for listing on the stock exchange . On November 7, Twitter was listed for the first time on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) with an issue price of USD 26 and closed on that day at USD 44.90, after having even briefly hit USD 50 in the morning. From 2011 to 2016, the company made a loss of $ 2 billion.

In 2013, Twitter took over MoPub for around $ 350 million. The Namo Media advertising platform followed in 2014 for less than $ 100 million.

Use and distribution

Twitter annual review 2011 with the number of tweets per second on selected topics

According to user statistics from the market research company Nielsen, Twitter had 1.8 million net users (Unique Audience) in Germany in June 2009. According to this Nielsen study, the number of Twitter users in Germany almost doubled between April 2009 and June 2009. However, Nielsen's “loyalty analysis” shows that only “35.7 percent of users from the previous month visited Twitter again in June.” The study also found that the majority of Twitter users only visited once once in June 2009 (71.1 percent) Percent) and only 14.8 percent of the users were on the website at least three times. And only 6.5 percent of Twitter users spent more than 30 minutes on the site in June 2009. Nielsen's conclusion on the user behavior of Twitter users from this study is: “On the one hand, there is the enormous interest and the increase in user numbers. On the other hand, users only paid a few visits to Twitter and many users from the previous month did not return. "

Figures for Austria are regularly collected by the Social Media Radar Austria . According to this, Twitter had 128,505 Austrian users in May 2015, of which 41,275 were writing accounts. In total there were 58,452 active accounts in Austria. The data from Social Media Radar Austria is based on the Twitter programming interface and was extracted by Social Media Radar Austria using specially developed algorithms. Only those users can be assigned correctly who have entered a correct place of residence in Austria.

The reach figures collected by Social Media Radar Austria supposedly do not correspond to the real Twitter reach in Austria. It is assumed that the actual Twitter reach in Austria could be around 4 times as high. The coverage figures distributed by the company can be viewed at

Demographic information about Twitter users: According to an online Twitter survey from March 2009, in which 2,779 useful data sets were evaluated, the average age of German Twitter users was 32 years, 74 percent of users were male and 78 percent had a high school diploma . According to this survey, two out of three Twitter users would also run their own blog and write about technology, Web 2.0 topics or private matters, among other things. 50 percent of the users come from the media or marketing industry and one in four is a manager or entrepreneur.

According to the platform's own information, around 100 million users logged in at least once a month with their own Twitter account at the end of 2011, around half of them daily. In November 2013, Twitter had a good 230 million active users. 55% of users use mobile devices. 40% of users only use Twitter to obtain information without posting short messages themselves. Twitter now has more than 1.48 billion members (as of June 2013).

Language versions

Japanese version

On April 22, 2008, Twitter announced on its blog that it had created a version for Japanese users because they were important users of the service. However, the user interface remained entirely in English. A week after launch, it was reported that the Japanese version of Twitter was gaining traction. Japanese was the second most widely used language on Twitter after English at the time.

Other language versions

In November / December 2009, the Twitter user interface was made available successively in Spanish, French, Italian and German. The translations were done with the help of volunteer translators.

Highest reach accounts

Overview of the accounts with the highest number of followers - worldwide (as of July 23, 2018)
Famous personalities
Lf. WR * user Followers
1. 1. Barack Obama 112.8 million
2. 2. Justin Bieber 108.7 million
3. 3. Katy Perry 108.4 million
4th 4th Rihanna 86.7 million
5. 5. Taylor Swift 83.2 million
Social media platforms
Lf. WR * user Followers
1. 9. YouTube 70.3 million
2. 16. Twitter 55.0 million
3. 33. Instagram 37.3 million
4th 134. Twitter video 15.9 million
5. 147. Vine Creators 15.0 million
Media (TV, newspapers, magazines)
Lf. WR * user Followers
1. 17th CNN Breaking News 55.0 million
2. 27 The New York Times 41.5 million
3. 30th CNN 39.9 million
4th 32. BBC Breaking News 38.2 million
5. 36. SportsCenter 35.1 million
Companies, authorities
Lf. WR * user Followers
1. 52. NASA 29.3 million
2. 93. Google 20.1 million
3. 122. The White House 17.0 million
4th 137. PlayStation 15.7 million
5. 185 Facebook 13.4 million
Lf. WR * user Followers
1. 8th. Cristiano Ronaldo 73.4 million
2. 26th LeBron James 41.7 million
3. 28. Neymar 40.4 million
4th 47. real Madrid 31.0 million
5. 49. Kaká 30.2 million

WR = World Ranking

In 17th place, CNN is the first company outside of the celebrities and social media platform environment. Five more media companies followed with the New York Times , BBC, ESPN , The Economist , National Geographic , until Google appeared as the first company outside the Big 3 (celebrities, social media, news).

Overview of the Twitter profiles with the highest number of followers in Germany, Switzerland and Austria (as of July 2018 (DEU), June 2018 (CHE), June 2018 (AUT))
Lf. profile Followers
1. Mesut Özil 23.05 million
2. Zedd 8.28 million
3. Toni Kroos 7.09 million
4th Heidi Klum 5.25 million
5. Basti Schweinsteiger 5.06 million
Lf. profile Followers
1. Roger Federer 12.4 million
2. CERN 2.5 million
3. Sepp Blatter 2.4 million
4th ICRC 2.3 million
5. Stanislas Wawrinka 1.7 million
Lf. profile Followers
1. Peter Box 760.14 thousand
2. Tanja Playner 591.46 thousand
3. Boris Kodjoe 527.4 thousand
4th Netflix DE 502.58 Th.
5. Armin Wolf 408.27 thousand

Tweets with the highest reach

The tweet with the highest reach is from Barack Obama. The former US President quotes Nelson Mandela as saying "No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin or his background or his religion ..." On August 16, 2017, the tweet received more than 3.4 million likes . The tweet was made in the context of Donald Trump's remarks on violence in Charlottesville, see right-wing extremist demonstrations in Charlottesville 2017 . A year later, in August 2018, the tweet reached more than 4.5 million likes.

Follower services

There are many promotions on the web that can be used to increase your number of followers. The “Twittercounter” service (officially operated by Twitter) also offers Twitter followers for money. With the “Tweepi” service you can follow several people at the same time. Whether these people then follow back is up to them and depends on the perceived relevance. Multiple following and unfollowing of the same person is usually seen as spamming.

In 2013, researchers assumed that only around 35% of the “followers” ​​of an average Twitter user are real people, while the rest are made up of so-called “social bots”, computer programs that disguise themselves as real people.

Public institutions

The purposes for which Twitter is used beyond individual communication are diverse. Public institutions provide information; z. B. maintains the US space agency NASA Twitter feeds on various projects; feeds were also served from space. The Los Angeles Fire Department used the information dissemination service during the 2007 Southern California wildfires .

Initial experience with the use of Twitter is already being gained in university teaching. Individual universities distribute information to their students and use Twitter to evaluate teaching . Scientists also use Twitter during conferences to inform absent colleagues.

Private sector

Companies use Twitter to provide product information and to communicate with their customers. Micro-blogging also serves as a marketing and market research tool for product and company development.

For example, Microsoft has successfully established a support channel for its Xbox game console . An in-house team uses monitoring tools to automatically search Twitter for relevant Xbox- related keywords . Thereupon it reacts actively if a user has a question or a problem and announces this in his own Twitter profile. Microsoft will then contact these users directly and offer assistance.

Mass media

News agencies and well-known media outlets such as the BBC and ZDF have also started using Twitter. Through his short message character references are to current events at Twitter often find faster than editorially processed media, this could make. Examples are the ditching of US Airways Flight 1549 or the Winnenden rampage . The latter also showed, however, that the immediacy of the message transmission via Twitter can lead to the multiplication of uncheckable false reports and rumors.

Google News has given certain Twitter users the same news priority as smaller newspapers and their “updates” occasionally appear on the American version of Google News. Also Technorati searches the current entries to evaluable, OneRiot specializing in Twitter and similar services.


Twitter is also used in the political arena; so held z. For example, Barack Obama's election campaign team in 2008 sent all helper groups “online” with short messages. The election campaign teams for US presidential candidate Barack Obama communicated via Twitter. At the 2008 Democratic Party Convention, Twitter was increasingly used. US President Donald Trump (or people from his team) tweeted practically every day and thus controlled the perception of central positions of the American government worldwide.

Political activists coordinated street protests against a US Republican party conference in Minneapolis / St. Paul.

In the context of the elections in Iran in 2009 , Twitter proved to be an important tool for the opposition. In spite of the Iranian government's internet censorship , supporters of Hussein Mousavi were able to spread information worldwide, which broadcasters such as ARD , ZDF and, increasingly, the US broadcaster CNN used for their reports. It was criticized, however, that news services increasingly wanted to influence reporting via Twitter.

A systematic review of the literature shows that Twitter was used during a number of social and political movements: 2007 WikiLeaks , 2009 Moldova , 2009 Austrian student protests , 2009 Israel-Gaza , 2009 Arab Spring , 2009 Toronto G20 , 2010 Venezuela , 2010 Stuttgart21 Germany , 2011 Egypt , 2011 England , 2011 USA Occupy Wall Street , 2011 Spain , 2011 Greece , 2011 Italy, 2011 USA Wisconsin, 2012 Israel Hamas , 2013 Brazil , 2013 Turkey .

Politics in Germany

On the occasion of the 2009 Federal Assembly, various text messaging services were used to spread the results of the election of the Federal President in advance . SMS with the counting result were sent as early as 2:00 p.m., and then SPD MP Ulrich Kelber tweeted the result at 2:15 p.m. At around 2:18 p.m., the CDU MP Julia Klöckner , who also sat on the vote counting committee, published the result of the election. The early announcement of the election results via Twitter led to heated discussions in Bundestag circles. The SPD therefore demands that the Bundestag examine the installation of jammers.

Even in the case of elections for the state parliaments in Saarland , Saxony and Thuringia , election forecasts were made public via Twitter before the polling stations were closed. The published figures did not differ significantly from those published at 6 p.m. on ARD and ZDF. As a result of this fact the discussion arose about a possible influence and corresponding invalidity of the elections.

In the CDU, in addition to some members of the Bundestag, the former Federal Family Minister Kristina Schröder and Economics Minister Peter Altmaier tweeted . Volker Beck tweets from the top greens , but he understands the specificity of micro-blogging as a comment option. According to the FAS, he is “widely praised as the most knowledgeable twitterer in the so-called Internet community. He completely dispenses with private anecdotes and obviously actually believes in dialogue with his followers. ”Even the former party chairman Reinhard Bütikofer discovered Twitter as an intensive communication and dialogue channel after initial skepticism. The deputy party leader of the Left Halina Wawzyniak has been tweeting since January 2009. The FDP parliamentary group in the German Bundestag also used this communication technology to draw attention to its press releases. The federal party and some state associations of the Greens tweet and report on their party congresses and events.

Election campaign in Germany

The former general secretary of the SPD, Hubertus Heil , had become acquainted with Twitter technology as a guest at the Congress of the US Democrats and introduced it to the SPD committees and the parliamentary group. In Germany, various politicians maintained Twitter feeds during the election campaign for the state elections in Hesse in 2009 . At least one channel was satirized by the satirical magazine Titanic , which opened its own channel and pretended to be the politician concerned.

The first election campaign in Germany in which Twitter was used was the Hessian state elections in 2009, in which all major parties had their own Twitter pages, for example the CDU with a blog and the SPD top candidate Thorsten Schäfer-Gümbel with a personalized Twitter Account. In the state election campaign of Baden-Württemberg in 2011, however, Twitter hardly played a role alongside traditional gift and poster advertising.

Election research

Due to the discussion about the Obama election campaign, media institutes also tried to draw attention to themselves in the run-up to the 2009 federal election campaign. A study by Nielsen Media Research did not sort out the fake and dead accounts and then assessed the parties' Twitter strength.

By evaluating hashtags, a picture of the political mood of Twitter users can be reproduced.

Cultural area

Museums, theaters, orchestras and sociocultural centers are also increasingly actively using Twitter. In a survey of Twitter users who are active in the cultural sector in autumn 2009, 84 percent said that cultural institutions can use Twitter successfully for marketing and advertising, but only 45 percent said that Twitter should become more part of the cultural scene. B. in the form of a Twitter opera (as performed at the London Royal Opera). The main reasons given for using Twitter were that Twitter provided people with better information about cultural events and made new contacts with cultural workers. More than 40 percent of those surveyed said that Twitter had become indispensable for maintaining their cultural interests.

In addition, Twitter can serve as an analysis tool for cinema success. Scientists at the HP-Lab in Palo Alto have developed various algorithms that can be used to calculate the number of visitors on the weekend of a new movie with an accuracy of over 95 percent.

Twitter meetings

Since Twitter has existed in Germany, users of the platform have also met regularly in "real life". For a while there was a Twitter get-together in almost every big city, sometimes under the name "Pl0gbars", for example in Munich , Cologne , Essen or Hamburg . One of the largest regular meetings of this kind is the gathering last organized in 2018 under the name "#twerlin", which has taken place eight times so far. As a rule, users of a certain bubble come together at such meetings to discuss the Twitter platform in a relaxed atmosphere. The organizers of the Twitter festival ("Twytter-Festiv @ l") held in Krefeld in summer 2019 went one step further , at which artists from the German-speaking Twitter scene performed, including Kathrin Weßling , MC Smook , Johannes Floehr , Teresa Hossa, Krieg und Freitag and Worst of Chefkoch . The proceeds of the festival, which attracted 350 spectators, were donated to Sea-Watch (approx. € 3,100).

Abuse and spamming

Twitter can be misused for advertising through spamming . These include the publication of a large number of links and the following of profiles of unknown people with the aim of ensuring that they also follow the tweets of the spammer (aggressive following). The trending topics are also misused by spammers by automatically adding terms from the current trending topics to their reports. The aim of spamming can be For example, you can create your own trending topics through numerous repetitions, influence Google search results and / or make the advertising messages appear more credible, as many different (in reality 'fake') accounts send this advertising message. The research project "Truthy Project" at Indiana University aims to research how spamming is used to organize opinion campaigns on Twitter. It's easy to buy Twitter profile creation from dubious service companies. Sometimes it also happens that agencies buy followers without the knowledge of their customers. Cases are also known in which companies or organizations buy Twitter followers for their competitors in order to damage their reputation .

At the beginning of January 2011 it was announced that the US Department of Justice had requested the release of all user data of prominent WikiLeaks supporters by means of a subpoena from Twitter . It is unclear whether and to what extent Twitter followed suit.

In April 2013 it was announced that the British technology pioneer Kevin Ashton was responsible for the creation of a “real” Mexican “social media” guru named “Santiago Swallow”. The virtual Internet personality "Santiago Swallow" had around 90,000 Twitter followers and had a seemingly credible biography on the English language Wikipedia. Kevin Ashton described setting up this fictional character as an attempt to show that the number of Twitter followers does not say anything about how believable the person who is being followed is.

Hacker attack

In mid-July 2020, hackers gained access to the administration interface of Twitter and thereby hacked several Twitter accounts of famous people, including Bill Gates , Barack Obama , Elon Musk, as well as Apple and Coinbase . With the hacked user accounts, it was tweeted about an alleged fundraising campaign with payment via Bitcoin . Twitter Inc. reacted to this event after about three hours and deactivated the function of tweeting or resetting the password for some accounts.


The psychologist Tracy Alloway from the University of Stirling in Scotland put forward the thesis in September 2009 that the social network Facebook makes its users smarter, while the microblogging service Twitter makes it dumber. While Facebook expands working memory and therefore also promotes intelligence , Twitter does the opposite. However, this thesis has not yet been confirmed.

Media reports that researchers at the University of Southern California found a decline in morale and empathy among Twitter and Facebook users turned out to be false.

Short message services such as Twitter, which call for demonstrations and warn of police actions, have played an important role in organizing politically motivated protest groups, like other social networks , since the revolution in Tunisia in 2010/2011 . Critics consider the weighting to be excessive, but had to admit that such services are the only way to report unaffected, especially where classic media suffer from censorship. On the other hand, it is undisputed that Twitter and Facebook motivate young people in particular to take part in protest rallies.

Meanwhile, Twitter has also arrived as a motif in pop culture. For example, in episode 7.13 of the US doctor series Grey's Anatomy, there is a scene in which an assistant doctor tweets the incisions made by her superiors during an operation and thus receives solutions to a problem. In episode 3.18 of the television series Castle , a suspicious fan of a television series asks during an interrogation if she could briefly tweet the death of the main screenwriter.

In literature, the book Twitterature is published by Alexander Aciman & Ement Rensin at Penguin Books in London in 2009 . The World's Greatest Books Retold Through Twitter . The 146-page volume contains 60 books with a maximum of 20 tweets each.

In April 2013, Yassin Musharbash wrote an essay on the role and impact of Twitter in the days after the attack on the Boston Marathon , while the Ambassador of the Czech Republic complained that Twitter messages called for military strikes against his country because the authors of the tweets apparently mistook it for Chechnya .


The connection to the social network LinkedIn was terminated in June 2012. This is the first time that Twitter has actively restricted a competitor's access to its API. Users can no longer read or send tweets within their LinkedIn profile. The reason given for this decision was that Twitter wanted to bind users more closely to its own apps in order to offer a more consistent “experience”.

In August 2012 it was announced that Twitter would further restrict access to its API interface. The reason for this is the update of the API to version 1.1, which only allows authenticated calls and limits the number to a maximum of 350 per hour. In this way, Twitter wants to strengthen services for professional users and companies in particular, but at the same time massively restricts support for third-party Twitter apps. Since the in-house apps sometimes do not have the same range of functions and are quite unstable, this decision has been massively criticized. Since Twitter became known through Twitter clients , among other things , developers who developed apps for Twitter at an early stage feel at a disadvantage as a result of these changes. As a result, many developers gave up active development of their Twitter client.

In November 2012, the French Jewish Students' Association filed a complaint against the company in Paris. The reason for this are anti-Semitic tweets. The association accuses Twitter of not taking sufficient action against such tweets and in particular demands that the addresses of the relevant users be disclosed after a court order. However, Twitter calls for the resolution of an American judge, citing the freedom of expression guaranteed by the American constitution.

According to Eric Posner (professor of international law at the University of Chicago), Twitter causes users to become alienated from one another while being showered with advertisements. In the non-virtual world, people are careful to express controversial opinions in a careful and respectful manner. On Twitter, however, they were looking for a boost when their tweet was liked or retweeted. Likes or retweets are made by people who see their opinion confirmed. This is why tweets are regularly written in a decidedly derogatory manner or in the tone of indignation in order to reach like-minded people more effectively. But people forget that people who do not share every single view can read such tweets. This would lead to misunderstandings and hostility that could also reach into the non-virtual world.

As of November 2017, Twitter is listed in the Paradise Papers publications .

It has been criticized that Twitter makes posts from different user accounts less visible. The measures range from a lack of auto-completion of the user name in the search to completely hiding your own comments from others who do not follow you. Twitter does not notify those affected, nor does the company publish the reasons and algorithms that decide on these measures. Critics called these measures " shadow bans " (from the English shadow bans ). However, since the posts of affected users are not completely invisible in the worst case, but can be viewed when the user page is actively accessed, the media and Twitter itself contradict this designation.

Censorship measures

On January 26, 2012, Twitter announced in a blog post that tweets would be filtered in the future if they distribute content that violated the law or social conventions in certain countries.

United States

On May 26, 2020, Twitter provided two tweets from Donald Trump with warnings for the first time. If you click on it, you will be taken to a page specially created by Twitter with the headline: "Trump makes unsubstantiated claim that mail-in ballots will lead to voter fraud" ("Trump claims unproven that postal ballot papers will lead to election fraud."). After the death of George Floyd on May 25, 2020, riots and looting broke out in some cities . Trump tweeted 'When the looting starts, the shooting starts' at the end of May (for example, when the looting begins, the shooting begins ). Twitter wrote that this tweet violated Twitter's rules on the glorification of violence . Keep the tweet accessible because there might be a public interest in it. It can be displayed again by clicking on it. However, users can no longer “like” the post , reply to it or share it without comment. Twitter competitor Snapchat took this tweet as an opportunity to announce that it would no longer promote Trump's account.

After the storming of the Capitol in Washington on January 6, 2021, Twitter initially announced that it would block Trump's account for 12 hours, while social networks such as Facebook announced that they would block Trump's user accounts at least until he left the presidency. Two days later, on January 8, 2021, Twitter announced that Trump's user account would be permanently blocked due to the "risk of further incitement to violence", among other things to prevent a planned second attack on the Capitol on January 17, 2021.


On October 18, 2012, an entire Twitter account was suspended in a single country for the first time. At the request of the Hanover police, Twitter blocked the “@hannoverticker” account because it was operated by a banned neo-Nazi group. The blocking is only active in Germany - the account can still be accessed in other countries.

In 2015, Newsweek reported with regard to Twitter's semi-annual transparency report that in the second half of 2014 Germany ranked third behind Turkey and Russia for state and state-sanctioned deletion requests. Applications from Turkey (477 in the reporting period) usually relate to alleged violations of the personal rights of private individuals or government officials, while applications from Russia (91) ranged from the deletion of advertisements for illegal drugs to attempts to suppress non-violent demonstrations. Most of the applications from Germany (43) related to hateful and discriminatory content. 37% of the German applications were granted, compared to around 13% in the other two countries. Compared to the previous six months, the number of applications has increased by 84% worldwide.

In August 2017, the satirist Shahak Shapira wrote with spray chalk 30 from Twitter, despite a request, not deleted hate tweets on the steps in front of Twitter's Germany headquarters. As part of a six-month experiment, he had previously reported over 300 such tweets, with Twitter responding to only nine of his reports with a rejection and leaving the remaining reports unanswered. The project caused a worldwide sensation and inspired imitators to protest with projections in front of Twitter's headquarters in San Francisco . In interviews, Shapira stated that his project did not demand censorship, but was merely a criticism of Twitter's negligent enforcement of its own guidelines. He rejected the allegation of vandalism, as the use of chalk spray on public streets in Germany was legal. Justice Minister Maas urged Twitter to do more against hate speech. Twitter didn't respond.

Right-wing extremist accounts of the Identitarian Movement were blocked in the summer of 2020. Most recently, 30,000 Twitter users followed the page. With this step, Twitter is also opposing right-wing extremist ideas. Facebook and Instagram banned this group from the platform long before.


On the night of March 20-21, 2014, the Turkish government blocked access to Twitter. Anyone who wants to reach Twitter in Turkey since then arrives at a page with an official statement from the “Turkish Telecommunications Supervisory Authority” with the information that the short message service is blocked by law.

The then Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan had thus followed through on his threat to block this social network. The reactions of the international community “don't care”.

Erdoğan also said that this had nothing to do with "preventing freedom of expression ". Penetrating private life or spying on state secrets through social networks is not covered by freedom of expression. Erdoğan had already threatened to ban YouTube and Facebook at the beginning of March 2014 .

After the blockade, a press spokesman for the Turkish government said, according to the Turkish daily Hürriyet and the Reuters news agency , that those responsible at Twitter had ignored several court orders that had ordered the removal of various links and content.

Twitter has not commented on this blocking. However, the short message service informed its around 10 million Turkish users via “tweet” that they could continue to send “tweets” via SMS - despite the block.

However, the then Turkish President Abdullah Gül assumed that the Twitter blockade in Turkey would soon be lifted. Furthermore, in his opinion, it is "technically impossible to prevent such globally networked communication technology". Many Turkish Internet activists, including Erdoğan critics, now hoped that a veto by Gül, who was considered to be quite Internet-friendly, would turn the Twitter lock into a new direction. On April 2, 2014, the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Turkey unanimously approved a lawsuit against the Twitter ban. The judgment stated that the prohibition contravened Article 26 of the Constitution of the Republic of Turkey on freedom of expression and dissemination.

Even after the attack in Suruç in 2015 , Turkish internet providers blocked Twitter. A court had ordered that photos and videos of the suicide attack could not be published.


German-language literature

English-language literature

  • Shel Israel: (09/2009) Twitterville: How Businesses Can Thrive in the New Global Neighborhoods - Portfolio, ISBN 978-1-59184-279-8 .
  • Tim O'Reilly , Sarah Milstein: (05/2009) The Twitter Book - O'Reilly Media, ISBN 978-0-596-80281-3 .
  • Kevin Makice: (04/2009) Programming Twitter: Learn How to Build Applications with the Twitter API - O'Reilly Media, ISBN 978-0-596-15461-5 .
  • Joel Comm, Anthony Robbins, Ken Burge: (03/2009) Twitter Power: How to Dominate Your Market One Tweet at a Time - John Wiley & Sons, ISBN 978-0-470-45842-6 .
  • Julio Ojeda-Zapata: (11/2008) Twitter Means Business: How Microblogging Can Help or Hurt Your Company - Happy About, ISBN 978-1-60005-118-0 .
  • Deborah Micek, Warren Whitlock: (10/2008) Twitter Revolution: How Social Media and Mobile Marketing Is Changing the Way We Do Business & Market Online , Xeno Press, ISBN 978-1-934275-07-8 .

Web links

Wiktionary: Twitter  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations
Commons : Twitter  - collection of pictures, videos and audio files
 Wikinews: Twitter  - in the news

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