Yesterday, Twitter suffered a severe compromise which resulted in the accounts of high profile individuals — from Elon Musk and Kanye West to Apple and Joe Biden — sharing a scam request for Bitcoin in exchange for free Bitcoin. It appears Google responded swiftly by demoting Twitter-related results in Search and those results have yet to return as of this writing.
Update: The Twitter carousel is back.
Google searches for various people and topics often present a large, featured Tweet carousel. For instance, searching Kanye on Twitter would — until yesterday — show a scrollable carousel of his latest tweets. One Brodie Clark noticed that Google promptly responded to the Twitter hack — clearly in an effort to minimize damage — by demoting Twitter results and disabling the featured section.
As noted by SearchEngineLand, the change is already appearing in the harvest Google Search-related data from sources such as FiveBlocks, SEM Rush, and RankRanger. A sharp drop was observed from the vast majority of politicians and major restaurant chains was observed by FiveBlocks, showing that Google did indeed intervene.
It’s rare that Google abruptly and obviously intervenes with Search in a manual way like this, but it definitely makes sense. Dozens of high profile accounts were showing harmful content yesterday, and the last thing Google wants to do in that case is amplify it.
It’s unclear as yet if Google will return Twitter results to normal in the wake of the hack; Twitter has indeed restored full operations in the wake of the Bitcoin scam, so we’ll see in the coming days if Google flips the switch back. For now, Twitter results are being presented normally with a single profile link.
Thankfully, the hackers — which apparently managed to compromise an internal Twitter admin tool, rather than individual accounts — didn’t choose to target the accounts of any Google properties as far as we can tell. Read more about what happened on Twitter yesterday at 9to5Mac and Electrek.
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