Playing Dirty: Twitter Lies, Then Hijacks Canadian Entrepreneur's Creation

Toronto-born entrepreneur Howard Lindzon, who was a favourite at last year's GROW Conference, is fuming.

He was told by Twitter months ago in a "detailed email" that the social network had no interest in dealing with what it now dubs "cashtags," which are stock ticker symbols on Twitter ($FB for Facebook, as opposed to hashtag #Facebook, for example). That was good news for him, because his pet project, Stocktwits, has been doing just that for four years.

Suddenly, though, Twitter reversed its opinion on the matter and has now stolen the Canadian's creation without warning, according to Howard. That seems plenty annoying, even though Howard doesn't rely on Stocktwits to pay his bills. In fact, he may be more upset about the fact that Twitter will deliver an inferior product, and arguing this move "will only confuse the masses," as suggested by his tone on a recount of the situation.

"I am disappointed of course that Twitter is hijacking our idea and time," Howard writes on his blog. "You can hijack a plane but it does not mean you know how to fly it." He goes on to state that his company "provides context, curation, and community"—something Twitter's lacklustre replica fails to offer.

He concludes bitterly: "In a dirty way, it’s the ultimate compliment."

San Francisco, California, United States

Twitter is a privately funded startup with offices in the SoMA neighborhood of San Francisco, CA. Started as a side project in March of 2006, Twitter has grown into a real-time short messaging service that works over multiple networks and devices. In countries all around the world, people follow the sources most relevant to them and access information via Twitter as it happens—from breaking... more

Toronto, Ontario, Canada

StockTwits is an open, community-powered idea and information service for investments. Users can eavesdrop on traders and investors, or contribute to the conversation and build their reputation as savvy market wizards. The service takes financial related data - using Twitter as the content production platform - and structures it by stock, user, reputation, etc. Log into the site with your... more

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Rob Lewis

Rob Lewis

Rob is the President of Techvibes Media and Editor-in-Chief of  His diverse background includes stints in International Trade Finance, Web Development, and Enterprise Software and he is a graduate of the University of British Columbia, British Columbia Institute of Technology, and Simon Fraser University. When not running Canada's leading technology media property, Rob can be... more

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