Twitter Will Ask Users to Read Articles Before Sharing

Twitter announced on Wednesday that it is testing a new feature to “promote informed discussion” — a “prompt” that will basically tell you to read an article before you share it.

The company said in a tweet Wednesday that the feature is being tested for Android users and will alert the user to first open the link they plan on sharing before retweeting it.

This move comes after weeks of multiple feature updates Twitter has been testing to quell the spread of misinformation and harassment on its platform. In May, the social media site launched a feature that allows users to pick and choose who gets to reply to their tweets. Twitter’s option to hide replies has also been around since September 2019.

“It’s easy for links/articles to go viral on Twitter,” Kayvon Beykpour, the company’s product lead, said in a tweet Wednesday. “This can be powerful but sometimes dangerous, especially if people haven’t read the content they’re spreading.”

And as the coronavirus began to spread across the globe, the company issued misinformation warnings in front of hundreds of tweets, including President Trump’s, instructing users to seek additional information.

Many social media users are guilty of retweeting articles based on headlines, not article content — especially in cases of trending or breaking news.

For example, one study conducted by computer scientists at Columbia University found 59% of links shared on social media were never clicked on before they were shared with peers. 

In a statement to Digital Trends, a Twitter spokesperson said there are no “additional expansion timelines to share at this time” and that the feature, for now, “is limited to a subset of Twitter for Android users in the U.S. using English settings.”

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