Twitter is a great place to keep up with the news, but sometimes we’re all guilty of retweeting or responding to a post without reading its contents. Now, Twitter’s Android app is testing a new prompt which will remind users to read an article before they retweet it. The platform had started testing this feature in June un this year. Twitter said that this feature is being brought in to promote informed discussions.
It’s unclear when this functionality will go live, but Twitter says in a tweet on its Support account that this is only in “testing.” Presumably, that means it will only be available for some users until expanding to a wider audience.
This follows the truth about headlines – they often don’t tell the whole story and can be misleading. Encouraging people to read the article they want to share is a logical way to promote media literacy and stop some “knee-jerk reactions” that can make misinformation go viral.
The goal of this new feature is to “promote informed discussion.” Often, sharing an article without reading it can lead to the spread of misinformation or partial truths, so it’s good to see Twitter attempting to curb that problem. It’d be nice, too, if this same prompt applied to replies, as some users will often only read a headline before responding.
There are no screenshots of this functionality in action, but we’re thinking it will show as a warning-style prompt if you never clicked the article’s link. It’s also unclear what conditions will apply to the tweet. Will it work if images or videos are also embedded in the tweet? Will it apply to all links? For now, these questions remain unanswered.
Sharing an article can spark conversation, so you may want to read it before you Tweet it.
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.
— Twitter Support (@TwitterSupport) June 10, 2020
After being in testing with some users over the past couple of months, Twitter has announced that it will be rolling out this feature to all users globally “soon.” When the feature rolls out widely, it will also be smaller on the screen after its first appearance.
📰 More reading – people open articles 40% more often after seeing the prompt
📰 More informed Tweeting – people opening articles before RTing increased by 33%
📰 Some people didn’t end up RTing after opening the article – which is fine! Some Tweets are
best left in drafts 😏
— Twitter Comms (@TwitterComms) September 24, 2020
Twitter shared some results from the tests it ran in June when the feature was rolled out to Twitter users on Android only. Results showed that people showed the prompt opened articles 40% more and the overall percentage of people opening an article before retweeting went up by 33%.
Besides this, Twitter is also working on a feature that warns users before they send offensive replies.