January 26th, 2010 | steve | 1 Comment#comments">1 Comment

I’ve had a number of mails from people in the past few months, saying that they had discovered their name, whether real name or twitter alias, on a semantictweet.com page as a result of a Google search. Sometimes their name may have appeared on the same page as other less savoury twitter accounts (e.g. twitter porn accounts, or twitter spam accounts).

More often than not, these people do not what their twitter name being indexed with other unsavoury names, and want the offending semantictweet.com page to be removed. I’ve occasionally even been threatened (spuriously, I’ve no doubt) with legal action if I fail to comply.

As I have explained in the past, and for the benefit of anybody who finds themselves in this position in the future, I’m afraid that this is not possible on a selective basis.

Let me recap how semantictweet.com works. When you retrieve (or dereference) a SemanticTweet URL such as semantictweet.com/<<somename>>/friends, this provides you with the list of twitter friends of @somename.  Try it out with http://semantictweet.com/semantictweet/friends.  Likewise, http://semantictweet.com/semantictweet/followers will give you the list of twitter followers.

If all has gone well, you’ll end up with a long XML (or more correctly, RDF/XML) document that looks something like this:



<rdf:RDF>
  <foaf:PersonalProfileDocument rdf:about="">
    <foaf:maker rdf:resource="http://semantictweet.com/semantictweet"/>
    <foaf:primaryTopic rdf:resource="http://semantictweet.com/semantictweet#me"/>
    <admin:generatorAgent rdf:resource="http://semantictweet.com/"/>
    <admin:errorReportsTo rdf:resource="mailto:stephen@flinter.com"/>
  </foaf:PersonalProfileDocument>
  <foaf:Person rdf:about="http://semantictweet.com/dominikb1888#me">
    <foaf:name>Dominik Böhler</foaf:name>
    <foaf:nick>dominikb1888</foaf:nick>
    <rdfs:seeAlso rdf:resource="http://semantictweet.com/dominikb1888"/>
    <foaf:homepage rdf:resource="http://www.wi1.uni-erlangen.de"/>
    <foaf:img rdf:resource="http://a3.twimg.com/profile_images/414507117/twitterProfilePhoto_normal.jpg"/>
  </foaf:Person>

…

</rdf:RDF>

It’s these pages that are indexed by Google, and usually the cause of the kind of request that I described above.

SemanticTweet works by querying the public Twitter API of the user in question.  SemanticTweet doesn’t store or cache anything – it just runs the query, and then builds the RDF document shown above from the data returned by Twitter.

Here’s the key point:

SemanticTweet only uses publicly available data provided by Twitter.

What this means is, that there is no way to individually block or remove particular page (without changing the code to explicitly do so). The way to remove a SemanticTweet page is to ensure that you’re not following or friended to the undesired Twitter user. You might even find that it’s necessary to block the offending user. Once you’ve done all that, reload the SemanticTweet URL, and check that everything is as it should be.

Bear in mind, that even taking this step is not necessarily going to be immediate, as Google (or any other search engine) will cache the original, offending page, so you’ll have to wait until Google reindexes the page before the reference is completely removed. Obviously, it is totally out of my hands as to when this happens.

1 comment to “Removal from SemanticTweet”1 Comment#respond"> Leave your Comment
  1. arikaz says:

    so this basically means i have to even further limit my actions on twitter or even cancel my account to avoid having it out there in the the google search cyber world? great.

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