Is Twitter cooking the books on WikiLeaks trends?

We like a good conspiracy theory as much as the next man but this one seems to have lit a blaze under the haunches of basement-dwellers all over the web.

Safety First blogger Bubbloy has donned his tinfoil titfer to accuse micro-blogging site Twitter of censoring entries in its 'Trends' sidebar in order to stop the Twaterati wittering on about WikiLeaks.

For those of you unfamiliar with the blue bird of despair, Twitter is a 140-character messaging service much beloved by people who like the sound of their own voices and want to keep the world appraised of every tiny detail of their meaningless existence.

I should, at this point, add that I think Twitter is a very useful tool and use it every day, if only to stem the tide of abuse I'm bound to get from the kind of people who create all of the noise I mentioned above.

The blog in question points out that, given the amount of WikiLeaks-related traffic you encounter doing a manual search for the term, 'WikiLeaks' should pretty much permanently be at the top of the 'Trends' sidebar which is supposed to reflect what Tweeters are talking about at any given point in the day, and in your own country or city if you care to customise the widget.

Bubbloy cries 'censorship!' based on the supposition that the Trends bar is managed by a clever algorithm which counts who is talking about what and posts the results accordingly.

The simple truth of the matter as far as we can tell is that the contents of the 'Trends' bar are chosen and edited by human beings. Otherwise Justin Bieber and Zac Efron would constantly top the Twitter Chart. And what would that do to the site's credibility?

Something else which the whole censorship argument unfortunately failed to take into consideration is that fact that account names can't be included as Trend tags, so 'WikiLeaks' is never likely to appear. A theory held up by the fact that 'cablegate' was trending all of last week until someone grabbed it as an account name.

The folks at Twitter have gone a long way to democratising global free speech with a digital platform which is almost impossible to silence. It will be a very sad day when that voice is muffled by pressure brought to bear by any source, whether that be the stakeholders of the company or red-faced Governments trying to hush up embarrassing diplomatic gaffes.

We just don't think it has happened yet.