The truth about Twitter Search

This post confirms a theory stemming from the recent adult webcam spam attack. While Twitter officials said they removed the "spammy" posts, a twitter search revealed that deleted tweets never die. It appears the Twitter search engine ignores deleted posts and happily displays valid & deleted posts for all to see.

To prove the theory, I decided to tweet and quickly delete the following: "This message has been deleted and should NOT show up in Twitter search." If you search for it on Twitter search (and possibly other third-party search tools), it will show up. If you don't feel comfortable clicking the link, copy/paste the text into Twitter search. To verify that the message has been deleted, you can click on "View Tweet" which will let you know that the message no longer exists.

This behavior exposes people's mistakes, and in the case of this recent attack, continues to paint a virtual target on their backs by revealing who fell for the scam in the first place. Twitter users, beware.

[Update 4/11/09: It appears that Twitter is now removing older tweets from the search results. To reactivate the tweet referred to in this blog post, I simply posted it again today, and promptly deleted it... but, as explained above, it still shows up in the search results.]

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