Pussy problems, part 2

As well as writing up [the problems with Stuart Jeffries’ factually incorrect G2 article](http://matthewman.net/2009/07/08/stuart-jeffries-mollie-sugden-twitter/) yesterday, I wrote to the letters page of the Guardian to complain.

They have chosen not to publish that letter, but instead have included some discussion of the matter in their regular [Corrections & Clarifications column](http://www.guardian.co.uk/theguardian/2009/jul/09/corrections-clarifications):

> A G2 article called the censorship from Twitter of the hashtag (equivalent to a subject line) “Mrs Slocombe’s Pussy” the worst outrage against freedom of expression ever. We should have noted the explanation provided by Biz Stone, the founder of Twitter, for the problem users encountered searching for #MrsSlocombesPussy: a programming bug means that Twitter’s search function does not work on hashtagged words of more than 16 characters. MrsSlocombesPussy is 17 (The strange case of Mrs Slocombe’s vanishing pussy, 8 June, page 15).

Note the wording “We should have noted…”, which implies that mentioning Biz Stone’s comments in Jeffries’ column would have made everything alright. In truth, the whole premise of Jeffries’ piece is flawed, and consequently the whole piece ends up being a work of fiction. There was no intervention from Twitter, there is no censorship issue, and there never has been.

What’s more, currently [the article is _still_ online in its original form](http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2009/jul/08/twitter-mollie-sugden-mrs-slocombe): no mention is made of the correction. And links to the article are _still_ being cited on Twitter as an example of American prudery. _(see update 2 below)_

Hopefully that’s just an oversight, and Jeffries’ piece of nonsense will either be removed, or have a disclaimer placed on it that’s so large it makes it clear that the content can’t be trusted.

**Update:** The Guardian’s Kevin Anderson, [writing in today’s Technology section](http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2009/jul/08/hashtags-twitter-spam), gets it right.

**Update 2:** As of 10.30am on Thursday, July 9, [Jeffries’ article](http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2009/jul/08/twitter-mollie-sugden-mrs-slocombe) is now headed by the correction.

Author: Scott Matthewman

Formerly Online Editor and Digital Project Manager for The Stage, creator of the award-winning The Gay Vote politics blog, now a full-time software developer specialising in Ruby, Objective-C and Swift, as well as a part-time critic for Musical Theatre Review, The Reviews Hub and others.