Activists offer software designed to spread its messages further by taking advantage of trending topics on Twitter.
Elinor MillsFormer Staff Writer
Elinor Mills covers Internet security and privacy. She joined CNET News in 2005 after working as a foreign correspondent for Reuters in Portugal and writing for The Industry Standard, the IDG News Service and the Associated Press.
The Anonymous group of online activists released a new tool today designed to allow people to hijack trending topics on Twitter and tweet messages within them.
Dubbed URGE (for Universal Rapid Gamma Emitter), the beta software is available for download for Windows computers and requires .Net Framework 4 to work.
"This is not a hacking tool nor is it an exploit tool," the group said in a statement. "It was created to make it easier for us to tweet faster without copying and pasting constantly."
Anonymous members say they are annoyed with all the redundant and "pop culture" topics featured on Twitter Trends and want to draw more attention to topics that "actually serve a cause."
"We have taken note of why Twitter would not do so, they only trend topics which would 'appeal' to people and can get people to tweet more," the statement says. "This was pathetic in our eyes, and we could not stand by and take it anymore."
URGE will allow people to spread the message of Anonymous--including "bashing corrupt politicians," among other causes--by riding the coattails of trending topics. "This will help raise awareness of problems going on in this world and show people that real problems exist outside of 'Jersey Shore' and 'Sex,'" according to the statement.
So people interested in singer Jordan Sparks (never heard of her!), National Kiss Day, and the American Jobs Act--which were among the top 10 topics worldwide late today--would conceivably have seen more tweets about the latest San Francisco BART subway protest, civilian unrest in Syria, and President Obama's jobs plan.