Twitter wants users to read the actual news articles instead of just retweeting them based on their clickbait headlines.
The U.S. is presently fighting misinformation war on two fronts. The first one involves its fight against misinformation on the pandemic. While the second challenge is against the protests that are happening in the country today.
Winning this fight takes a herculean effort from all stakeholders. Social media is presently the breeding ground of misinformation. Fortunately, many have stepped up in curbing the problem since the start of the pandemic.
Be that as it may, the effort should not only come from the social media platform, but also from its users.
Twitter wants users to read before retweeting
Twitter announced yesterday that it would roll out a new test in a handful of Twitter users. In this test, users will be prompted by the app to read a news article Tweet before they proceed retweeting.
One of the main sources of misinformation spread is people not reading beyond the headlines. Kayvon Beykpour, Twitter’s product lead, said
“It’s easy for links/articles to go viral on Twitter. 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.”
As mentioned in his statement, the feature will be limited only to Android users at the moment. Additionally, it will only be available for English content for its soft rollout. Eventually, users around the world may see the feature become permanent in the platform.
Twitter-feud with President Trump
Less than two weeks ago, Twitter had a head-on clash with U.S. President Donald Trump regarding the use of the platform. Twitter surprisingly fact-checked Trump’s tweet, which the latter did not take lightly.
There is NO WAY (ZERO!) that Mail-In Ballots will be anything less than substantially fraudulent. Mail boxes will be robbed, ballots will be forged & even illegally printed out & fraudulently signed. The Governor of California is sending Ballots to millions of people, anyone…..
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 26, 2020
The President immediately fired back, accusing Twitter of ‘stifling free speech’. Less than 24 hours after that, the President immediately issued an executive order regarding the matter. The executive order mandates that the immunity shield of social media platforms be completely stripped away.
Twitter was ready
Brandon Borrman, Twitter’s vice president of global communications, apparently knew that fact-checking the President’s tweet would start a big problem. He said in an interview with One Zero, ‘the company needed to do what’s right, and we knew from a comms perspective that all hell would break loose.’
Last May 11, Twitter announced that it would be providing fact-checking alerts on Tweets that could be potentially misleading. It didn’t mention anything about fact-checking other topics that could have misinformation. Nevertheless, the company left a slight opening for such a possibility. As a result, President Trump’s tweet was fact-checked.
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