A recent filing has revealed that the world’s second-largest social media site, Twitter, has applied for trademark rights to the word “subtweet”, a colloquial term commonly used on the site’s network.
The word is used to refer to a tweet that mentions a specific person but does not cite their Twitter handle. The word has been particularly noticeable in its use on Twitter, but much less so away from the site, since 2013. Nonetheless, it does not seem to have been originally coined by Twitter staff.
As the filing indicates, Twitter first made this application on October 30, before it was approved for publication on November 19. This publication is intended to allow others to contest the application; should no objections arise, the word is likely to be made a Twitter trademark within months.
Lately, the company has justified its move to The Verge with the cryptic statement: “When you need to protect your namespace from people who would misuse it.”