Twitter wants to trademark the word ‘subtweet’

We all subtweet, but Twitter wants to take ownership of it.

The social network has filed papers to trademark the word “subtweet,” according to a Oct. 30 filing first noticed by Politico media editor Alex Weprin. For those unfamiliar with subtweeting, it’s when a Twitter user shades another without explicitly stating their name or handle. It’s the modern equivalent of talking behind a person’s back.

The term, used since at least 2013, is a quirk within the community and has spawned explainers, memes and think pieces.

It’s even made its way into the mainstream as a way to describe someone calling out another person without naming them, as seen in this recent Washington Post story titled “Bernie Sanders’s speech Saturday was one long subtweet of Hillary Clinton,” even though it didn’t happen on Twitter.

“When you need to protect your namespace from people who would misuse it. #keepingit100,” a Twitter spokesman told Digiday.

It’s likely that Twitter doesn’t plan to do anything with it; rather it’s seeking protection for it so rival social networks can’t hijack it. In the past, Twitter has filed a trademark for the words tweetstorm, tweet, retweet and hashflag, also to protect their identity. (They were successful with hashflag; the others are still under review.)

More in Media

NewFronts Briefing: Samsung, Condé Nast, Roku focus presentations on new ad formats and category-specific inventory

Day two of IAB’s NewFronts featured presentations from Samsung, Condé Nast and Roku, highlighting new partnerships, ad formats and inventory, as well as new AI capabilities.

The Athletic to raise ad prices as it paces to hit 3 million newsletter subscribers

The New York Times’ sports site The Athletic is about to hit 3 million total newsletter subscribers. It plans to raise ad prices as as a result of this nearly 20% year over year increase.

NewFronts Briefing: Google, Vizio and news publishers pitch marketers with new ad offerings and range of content categories

Day one of the 2024 IAB NewFronts featured presentations from Google and Vizio, as well as a spotlight on news publishers.