Update, 6:30PM ET: The retweet labels are back on the web (it may take clearing your browser cache along with a refresh to see them again, which you can do in Chrome by pressing the Shift button plus clicking refresh). Twitter PR did not comment on the labels’ disappearance or their return. The original article follows below.
Looks like it’s going to be another normal week on the bird site: people’s “Following” timelines are seemingly being flooded with unlabeled retweets from people they don’t follow, and a lot of people are seeing a Doge icon where the company’s bird logo used to be.
Regarding the first one, no, your Following timeline isn’t suddenly being run by the algorithm behind the “For You” one. Twitter has simply stopped labeling retweets. Previously, when someone you followed retweeted something, the tweet would have a note above it saying who was responsible for it showing up on your timeline. Now, that label seems to have vanished on the web, so the tweets look exactly like the ones from the people you follow.
If you click into the tweet, the retweet label shows back up, and if you try to reply to it, it’ll still tag the person who retweeted it. That functionality still being around, and the fact that the labels are still there on the timeline in the iOS and Android apps, as well as TweetDeck, makes this seem more like a bug than an intentional change.
As for the Doge icon showing up on the loading screen and in the upper left corner of the web UI, it’s hard to say how that could be a bug unless it’s just an April Fools’ day joke that showed up two days late. CEO Elon Musk has been a noted booster of the Dogecoin cryptocurrency and has, at times, let people buy certain pieces of Tesla merch with the memecoin. Of course, the value of Doge has spiked since the dog took over Twitter, going from under 8 cents to almost 9 cents.
Like the retweet labels, the Doge rebranding seems to only apply to Twitter’s web UI, not its apps.
Musk, along with SpaceX and Tesla, is currently being sued by investors claiming that he is “engaged in a Crypto Pyramid Scheme (aka Ponzi scheme) by way of Dogecoin cryptocurrency,” which lists his tweets about it as evidence. According to Reuters, he has recently filed to get the lawsuit dismissed.
These days, it’s hard to tell whether any of this is on purpose. Twitter’s press email automatically responds to requests for comment with a poop emoji, and Musk hasn’t tweeted about the change to retweet labels. He has reposted a meme about the Doge switch, which one of his followers tweeted as a riff on one of Musk’s tweets on Sunday.
Last week, Twitter stopped showing what tweets people were replying to, filling our timelines with replies that just looked like vague subtweets. Eventually, that change was rolled back, though again, it wasn’t clear whether Twitter was fixing a bug or undoing an unpopular policy decision.
Update April 3rd, 2:42PM ET: Added context about the lawsuit against Musk for promoting Dogecoin.
Update April 3rd, 3:13 PM ET: Updated to note that Musk has tweeted a meme about the Doge logo.