Twitter Tests ‘Read Before You Retweet’ To Halt Misinformation

Twitter continues its clamp down on misinformation with the news that it is trialling a ‘read before you retweet’ warning, in an effort to promote ‘informed discussion’.

The micro blogging platform essentially wants people to think before they share a link, by asking them to open the article first and read the content.

It comes as Twitter is engaged in a spat with US President Donald Trump, after it placed warning fact-checking labels on a couple of his tweets last month for the first time.

Twitter also last month announced it was testing new conversation settings that will allow users to limit who can reply to their tweets.

Read first

Twitter’s product lead, Kayvon Beykpour, announced the new development in a tweet about the matter, in which he revealed the new feature would be tested on Android users in the United States.

“It’s easy for links/articles to go viral on Twitter,” he tweeted. “This can be powerful but sometimes dangerous, especially if people haven’t read the content they’re spreading. This feature (on Android for now) encourages people to read a linked article prior to Retweeting it.”

Twitter will display the following warning message.

“Sharing an article can spark conversation, so you may want to read it before you Tweet it,” the warning reads. “To help promote informed discussion, we’re testing a new prompt on Android – when you Retweet an article that you haven’t opened on Twitter, we may ask if you’d like to open it first.”

The warning will appear with Android users in the US attempt to retweet an article posted by another user, without first having clicked on it.

Trump battle

Besides last month flagging two tweets from President Trump when he made unsubstantiated claims that postal voting would lead to widespread fraud, the platform also hid tweets from Trump and the official White House account for “glorifying violence”.

In response Trump signed an executive order against social networking firms.

Twitter also last month said it would be giving users a chance to rethink an offensive or hurtful reply to a tweet, by testing a prompt for users when they reply to a tweet using “harmful language.”

Twitter has a deserved reputation for its toxic environment.

Indeed, co-founder and chief executive officer (CEO) of Twitter Jack Dorsey in April 2019, said he wanted to change the platform and move “away from outrage and mob behaviour and towards productive, healthy conversation.”

One of those measures to stop its platform being used to distort the political landscape for example, saw Twitter in November 2019 ban all political advertising worldwide.

Prior to that in October 2019 Twitter had clarified the rules for banning world leaders using the micro-blogging platform to push their views, after calls for the suspension of President Donald Trump’s Twitter account.

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Tom Jowitt

Tom Jowitt is a leading British tech freelancer and long standing contributor to Silicon UK. He is also a bit of a Lord of the Rings nut...

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