For months, tween sensation Justin Bieber enjoyed a permanent spot on Twitter's Trending Topics lists. As of late last week, Bieber had been knocked off his perch. So did the Twitter team just get sick and tired of seeing Justin Bieber's name every moment of the day?
Not exactly. According to a post published on the official Twitter blog, the site merely updated its news algorithm – and poor Mr. Bieber was a casualty.
"Twitter is about what is happening right now, and we have recently updated our trending topics algorithm to reflect this. The new algorithm identifies topics that are immediately popular, rather than topics that have been popular for a while or on a daily basis, to help people discover the 'most breaking' news stories from across the world," Twitter reps wrote in the blog post.
Justin Bieber, unfortunately, falls under the category of topics that "have been popular for a while." Bieber was discussed regularly – and with a good deal of enthusiasm – by hundreds of thousands of Twitter users the world over. But according to Twitter's new rubric, Bieber gets the boot.
Perhaps sensing the impending protestations of Bieberholics the world over, Twitter sought to assure its users that it was not actively discriminating against any specific topics.
"It is important to note that this new algorithm does not 'block' any topics from trending," the company explained. "If topics you saw regularly in your Trending Topics menu have disappeared or are not showing as consistently as before, do a saved search for them on your homepage. That way, in one click, you can view search results for topics that matter most to you. Also consider localizing your Trending Topics menu."
Still, as Brian Moylan of Gawker points out, some users didn't take news of the update lying down. For a brief period of time on Monday, an army of Bieber lovers posted tweets with the words "Twieber" and "Jieber." Twitter's algorithm, which is programmed to find hot new phrases, didn't recognize that "Tweiber" and "Jieber" are variations on Justin Bieber's name – and the words quickly hit the Trending Topics list.