10:10 GMT02 July 2020
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    UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s chief adviser Dominic Cummings has been dominating British news for several days now after it emerged that he breached self-isolation rules to travel outside of London while displaying symptoms of coronavirus. Despite the scandal, his name is still not trending on Twitter - well, at least not in its correct form.

    Dominic Cummings’ name has been blocked from appearing on Twitter trends due to the social platform's anti-porn filters and trending algorithms, analysis by the Guardian revealed.  

    Boris Johnson’s adviser and his apparent breach of lockdown orders have been widely discussed on the news and social media in the last couple of days, but only misspelled versions of his name have made it to the top ten of UK’s most popular hashtags on Twitter.

    Currently, the British trending list has been dominated by #cummnings hashtag as more than 18 thousand tweets have included this interpreted version of the political adviser’s name.

    At the same time, when users try to post a hashtag using Cumming’s correct surname, Twitter presents them with some other misspelled versions to help auto-complete, while showing that around 200 thousand posts have already been shared on the platform in the last hours featuring the adviser’s real name, without making it to the list of top trends.

    The Guardian believes that the situation is the result of peculiar filtering by the company – or what is known as the Scunthorpe problem - that have led to the flood of various interpretations of the politician’s name that have now been circulating on the platform, including #dominiccummigs or #sackcummimgs. This comes as British citizens took to Twitter to express their anger with the fact that the Downing Street adviser still retained his position after it was revealed that he had breached self-isolation guidance in late March.

    Dominic Cummings, special advisor for Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson as he arrives at his home in London following the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), London, Britain, May 25, 2020
    © REUTERS / HANNAH MCKAY
    Dominic Cummings, special advisor for Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson as he arrives at his home in London following the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), London, Britain, May 25, 2020

    The company did not comment on the situation when approached by the media, however it has not been the first time when the platform has been criticised for muddy trending algorithms over topics that are constantly discussed, such as Donald Trump’s policies.  

    Boris Johnson’s chief staffer and a key figure in Brexit’s leave campaign, Dominic Cummings came under fire for his apparent breach of self-isolation measures when travelling with his family to Durham 425 km from London in the end of March, after he and his wife had already started displaying symptoms of COVID-19. Cummings also took a detour from Durham after fourteen days in isolation to travel to Barnard Castle in order to "test his eyesight" ahead of a drive back to London.

    Cummings defended the necessity of the trip and refused to quit his post despite the mounting pressures from other politicians, while Boris Johnson has also declined to criticise the actions of his key aide.

    Tags:
    Twitter, coronavirus, COVID-19, Boris Johnson, Dominic Cummings, United Kingdom
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