Twitter Tests New Feature to Limit Sharing of Unread Articles

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  • Twitter announced that it will test a new feature that will prompt to encourage users to read an article before sharing.

  • The new feature will only appear for U.S based Android devices for now.

  • As per the Twitter Support team, the platform will only check if the user has clicked the article link on Twitter and not anywhere else on the internet.

  • Twitter aims to empower healthy and informed public discussions with this new feature.

Twitter to experiment with a new feature that prompts users to read articles before sharing, is the latest effort to curb the spread of misinformation on the platform. 

Twitter product lead Kayvon Beykpour commented upon the announcement of the feature testing,

“It’s easy for links [and] 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.”

This Is An Old Ongoing Problem

The problem of users sharing news based on headlines is not new. A 2016 study from computer scientists at Columbia University and Microsoft found that 59% – nearly two-thirds of links posted on Twitter by users are shared without opening the articles.

During the pandemic, the social media giant has issued many misinformation warnings to curb the spread of any fake news -that includes one against the U.S President Donald Trump. This move led to Trump issuing executive orders targeting social media companies.

Will It Impact The Bots?

Twitter has tried many times before to spot the spread of misinformation. Like Facebook and other social media platforms, it has come scrutiny for the content it promotes.

Twitter’s solution is not banning retweets but tries to nudge the users to rethink their actions on the social network. Recently, in May it launched a feature that allowed users to limit who can reply to their tweets. It also rolled out another feature to hide specific replies to tweets.

However, the main problem is  ‘bots’. According to a paper published in AAAI, “Increasing evidence suggests that a growing amount of social media content is generated by autonomous entities known as social bots.” 

For instance, recently, new research reported that roughly half of the twitter accounts that discussed ‘Reopen America’ were bots. The AAAI paper also estimated that between 9%-15% of active Twitter accounts exhibit social bots behavior – nearly 49.5 million of its 330 million users. This new feature will impact the bots and might make it difficult to retweet any content.

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