Twitter API will get language detection and ‘top tweets’ filtering

twitter code

Twitter’s API is getting two important additions to its metadata, the company announced via blog post. Developers can now detect a tweet’s language, as well as algorithmic curation to surface “high value” tweets.

First off, to detect the language of a tweet, the updated API uses Twitter’s machine language detection algorithm, which should help developers better serve its users (especially to an international crowd) with language specific aggregation, analysis, and curation of tweets. For instance, developers can manually pick out the types of languages that they’d like to have surface in their app while burying tweets from unspecified languages. In one scenario, the parameter “language=ja” would display only tweets in the Japanese language. If you’re wondering where the “ja” abbreviation comes from, Twitter uses the two-letter ISO 639-1 code, which corresponds to certain languages.

twitter meta data for language detection

Twitter’s second update will offer developers the option to choose from “none,” “low,” “medium,” and “high” values, meaning that developer can tell Twitter how much they’d like to filter streaming tweets. This part of the API would be used to separate the important tweets from the noise in high-volume feeds, per Twitter’s own algorithm which sorts “high value” tweets from the rest. To get a better sense of what the values mean, Twitter’s “Developer Advocate,” Arne Roomann-Kurrik, writes that the medium entries, “roughly correlate to the ‘Top Tweets’ results for searches on twitter.com.”

This piece of info clues us into what’s actually powering the streams. Early last month, Twitter revealed that its real-time search engine was partially human powered (via Amazon’s Mechanical Turk) to better add context to tweets. The human element, for now, is the best and fastest way to add context to topics like “binders full of women,” which may suddenly have a new meaning overnight.

To get a better sense of how Twitter’s human search engine plays into this updated API, we’ll have to get technical for a moment. Developers can set one of the four values mentioned above, which in the code would sit next to the “filter_level” parameter. If “filter_level”: “none” then this defines no filtering. “Medium” on the other hand offers the most filtering, and if a developer has chosen the “medium” parameter, all “Top Tweets” that Twitter spits out into the developer’s client are search results that have been influenced by Twitter’s human real-time search engine.

For now, it looks like a “high” value doesn’t yet correspond to any amount of filtering. But say that “medium” does correspond to the human powered search results, which Roomann-Kurrik seems to suggest. That would mean that Twitter for now is setting aside a type of filter that would be far more powerful than “medium.” So any development here is worth keeping an eye on.

The “value” based filters will be launching on February 20, and the language filter will follow shortly thereafter, although a hard date hasn’t yet been set for that.

Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: heat-powered watches, phone cases with reflexes

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Photography

With 5-stop optical stabilization, Fujifilm GF 100-200mm is ready for adventure

Fujifilm revealed a new lens designed to deliver on the GFX system's promise of adventure-ready medium-format photography. The GF 100-200mm F5.6 R is a weather resistant, relatively lightweight, 2x telephoto with impressive stabilization.
Deals

Amazon drops prices on Roomba robot vacuums by up to $150

Amazon is offering discounts on iRobot Roombas and other robot vacuums to help you get a leg-up on those chores. We've rounded up the best deals available now and put them all in one place.
Mobile

We tried all the latest and greatest smartphones to find the best of 2019

Smartphones are perhaps the most important and personal piece of tech on the planet. That’s why it’s important to pick the best phone for your individual needs. Here are the best smartphones you can buy.
Photography

Photoshop fail gives Aussie leader two left feet in official portrait

The Aussie prime minister doesn't have two left feet, despite an official photograph of the leader and his family suggesting otherwise. It was, of course, a Photoshop fail, and the embarrassing snafu was soon trending on Twitter.
Social Media

Instagram now lets you post to multiple accounts in one tap

Instagram for iPhone now lets you post to multiple accounts at the same time. It's not the regram feature that many users have been asking for, but it could prove useful for some users who manage more than one profile.
Social Media

No yolk! A photo of an egg has become the most-liked post on Instagram

Until this weekend, the most-liked post on Instagram was of Kylie Jenner's baby daughter, which has around 18 million likes. It's now been knocked off the top spot not by a stunning sunset or even a cute cat, but by an egg.
Social Media

Invite your friends — Facebook Events can now be shared to Stories

Facebook is testing a way to make plans with friends to attend an event -- through Stories. By sharing an event in Facebook Stories, users can message other friends interested in the event to make plans to attend together.
Social Media

A quick swipe will soon let you keep bingeing YouTube on mobile devices

The YouTube mobile app has a new, faster way to browse: Swiping. Once the update rolls out, users can swipe to go to the next (or previous) video in the recommended list, even while viewing in full screen.
Photography

Starting your very own vlog? Here are the best cameras to buy

Any camera that shoots video can be used to vlog, but a few models stand out from the crowd thanks to superior image quality, ergonomics, and usability. When it comes to putting your life on YouTube, here are the best cameras for the job.
Social Media

Twitter extends its new timeline feature to Android users

Twitter users with an Android device can now quickly switch between an algorithm-generated timeline and one that shows the most recent tweets first. The new feature landed for iPhone users last month.
Social Media

YouTube to crack down on dangerous stunts like the ‘Bird Box’ challenge

YouTube already bans content showing dangerous activities, but new rules published by the site go into greater detail regarding potentially harmful challenges and pranks, including certain blindfold- or laundry detergent-based stunts.
Social Media

Nearly 75 percent of U.S. users don’t realize Facebook tracks their interests

Did you know Facebook tracks your interests, including political and multicultural affiliations? According to a recent Pew study, 74 percent of adult users in the U.S. have no idea Facebook keeps a running list of your interests.