Twitter says it’s working on bringing its “read the article before you retweet it” prompt to all users “soon.” The company began testing the prompt in June, which shows up when people go to retweet a story they haven’t clicked through to actually read.
Twitter says its motivation is to “help promote informed discussion.” Headlines often don’t tell the whole story and can even be actively misleading. Encouraging people to at least read the article they’re sharing seems like a smart way to promote media literacy and stop some of the knee-jerk reactions that can make misinformation viral.
More reading – people open articles 40% more often after seeing the prompt— Twitter Comms (@TwitterComms) September 24, 2020
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
What’s next:— Twitter Comms (@TwitterComms) September 24, 2020
Making the prompt smaller after you’ve seen it once, because we get that you get it
Working on bringing these prompts to everyone globally soon pic.twitter.com/08WygQi06G
The company shared some results from its initial test of the feature, which was limited to Twitter users on Android. It says people shown the prompt opened articles 40 percent more often and that the overall proportion of people opening articles before retweeting increased by 33 percent. The company also said that “some people” (a statistically meaningless phrase!) didn’t retweet the article after opening it up.
Twitter says it’s now “working on bringing these prompts to everyone globally soon” and that in the future, the prompt will be smaller once it’s been shown to users once (“because we get that you get it”). This isn’t the only feature Twitter’s been testing to improve life on its platform. Others include a feature that warns users before they send offensive replies and the option to limit who replies to tweets (which has now been rolled out globally).
Hopefully all this experimentation is just a warm-up for the next logical step: a warning shown to all users before they tweet anything at all.