Twitter trials ‘read before you retweet’ to promote ‘informed discussion’

Despite a recent high-profile spat with Donald Trump, Twitter’s latest move could actually prove to be a great help to the president – a “read before you retweet” prompt.

Not one to shy away from posting controversial comments – or retweeting those of others – Mr Trump could benefit from the new pop-up which has been designed to “promote informed discussion”.

It will appear if users attempt to retweet an article posted by another user without first having clicked on it.

It is being trialled initially for US Android users only.

Twitter said: “Sharing an article can spark conversation, so you may want to read it before you tweet it.

Trumps criticises Twitter
Image:The president has criticised Twitter

“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 move comes amid continuing conversations about the spread of fake news on social media.

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Twitter product lead Kayvon Beykpour 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.”

Twitter has often received criticism for not doing enough to combat the spread of misinformation on the site.

Last month, it flagged two tweets from Mr Trump when he made unsubstantiated claims that postal voting would lead to widespread fraud.

Donald Trump tweet
Image:One of Donald Trump’s posts that Twitter hid

It also hid tweets from Mr Trump and the official White House account for “glorifying violence”.

In his post, the US president quipped “when the looting starts, the shooting starts” – a phrase he repeated in a later tweet – amid violent protests in Minneapolis following the death of an unarmed black man in police custody.

Twitter said the message violated its “rules about glorifying violence” but the post would remain accessible and not be deleted entirely as it may be in the public’s interest.

Mr Trump’s tweet was then reposted word-for-word by the White House account, which Twitter also hid.

Another post from the White House account said “the president did not glorify violence. He clearly condemned it” and accused Twitter of having “biased, bad-faith ‘fact-checkers'”.

Mark Gibson

Graduates in Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois 1990. Move to Los Angeles California in 2004. Specialized in Internet journalism.

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