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When is a RT Bot not a RT Bot? – Hashwindows?

When is a bot not a bot?  When its supervised and censored by humans of course!  Is hashwindows on Twitter an example of censorship?  Take a look at the evidence and decide for yourself.

When is a bot not a bot? When its supervised and censored by humans of course! Is hashwindows on Twitter an example of censorship? Take a look at the evidence and decide for yourself.

When its censored by humans of course!

Lets delve into the world of Microblogging and Twitter for a minute.  Lets look at how its rise in popularity of late has encouraged many companies and celebs to jump onto the bandwagon and facilitate something which I thought was a tool for social media/communication, not a marketing vehicle.

Thats really academic and not the point of todays article.  Today we are going to look at the Twitter account HashWindows who, presumably is a bot which RT’s posts containing keywords relevant to the topic it RT’s…no surprises here…Windows!

Before we look at how robotic or automated this account really is, let me just say that I have not yet established if Hashwindows is an official Microsoft account (one of many) and nobody seems to know.  It lists its location as Pearl, but has no contact details or means of tracing its origins, sounds like one of the MS Faithful so far eh?

I first noticed Hashwindows a few months ago in my replies section of Twitter, I thought it was quite funny how it would RT my comments (some of which hardly made favorable reading) As time went on I lost interest in what I considered was a Twitter spam bot and dismissed it as a badly coded piece of work that blinded spouted RT’s of Windows related subjects (a little like the MS faithful do Steve Ballmers comments)

It was a few months ago when laughing at a particularly critical twit of Windows that it was proudly pumping around the Twitterspace that I noticed after a few days that particular RT disappeared.  Thinking it might simply be an error I kept an eye on Hashwindows, finding that after a short while (sometimes a day or so) certain comments of mine were deleted from its RT list.  I made a comment about this recently and received an email from a user known well in the FOSS world who wanted to remain anonymous that he too had noticed the same thing.

Before I wrote this article though, I had to get a little proof, I had been screen dumping this editing behaviour of Hashwindows for a few weeks and here is one more recent example of the shenanigans the naughty little Hashwindows has been up to.

Exhibit/1 – Here The RT of my comment is proudly displayed by Hashwindows.

Exhibit/2 – Here is another RT of one of my comments.

Exhibit/3 – and as if by magic they are gone! Here is a screengrab taken minutes ago.

You can read the article which it linked to here.

So what does this mean?  In my opinion theres some human input here reviewing the RT’s and deleting anything which is not promoting Microsoft/Windows.  Would Microsoft like to confirm or deny that this is an official MS Twitter account?  If this does belong to MS, should Twitter not be interested in this account that will most likely be taking up server load just to RT material said by others?

Hashwindows is just one of a few similar Twitter RT’rs that I will be looking at shortly.  An example of censorship?  An example of “we are happy to RT anything about Windows/Microsoft as long as its favorable”? – I’ll let you decide.

Goblin – bytes4free@googlemail.com

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About Tim Sparrow

Online tech writer, novelist/author of sci-fi literature and co-host of the TechBytes Show! I believe in multi-culturism & diversity. Luton Town FC supporter.

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about.me

Tim Wilson

Tim Wilson

Writer/Novelist of many facets both in the world of technology and fantasy/sci-fi. Co-host of the TechBytes audiocast and writer for both OpenBytes and Goblin's Domain. Supporter of free and open source software.

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