NPR explains how Twitter picks its trending topics

The algorithm that drives the trending topics lists is similar to a human editor, according to NPR.

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That’s what the social network told NPR for a story on how topics make the coveted trending list. Landing on the list, even briefly, can make a television show an instant success or bring much-needed attention to an important cause.

It can also let people know that Alec Baldwin was kicked off an airplane.

The algorithm governing the list is less interested in topics that have been popular for weeks, which led to censorship charges from Occupy Wall Street protesters.

They wondered why Occupy wasn’t trending, considering so many people were tweeting about it.

NPR reports:

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