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On Twitter, Sundance Channel accidentally benefits from Akin uproar

Published August 23, 2012 10:14 am

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

A fluke in Twitter's algorithms allowed the Sundance Channel to cash in, briefly and accidentally, on the furor over Missouri U.S. Senate candidate Todd Akin.

Akin, you may recall, is the fellow who said women who were victims of "legitimate rape" couldn't get pregnant. This set off a firestorm regarding Akin's — and the Republican Party's — support for a nationwide ban on abortion, even in rape cases.

According to AdAge.com, the campaign of Akin's Democratic opponent, incumbent Sen. Claire McCaskill, bought up ads on Twitter that would pop up whenever anyone searched the word "Akin."

Because of that, though, an ad for the Sundance Channel's new reality series "Get to Work," which tells stories of America's unemployed, also pinged whenever "Akin" was searched. The search word "Akin" wasn't set for Sundance Channel's ads, but the word "politics" was.

"Twitter 'chooses' where your promoted tweets appear based on your category selection," a spokesperson for the channel told AdAge. "It appears that since 'Akin' was trending, our promoted tweets ended up appearing in searches related to him."