Twitter’s experiments try to make your timeline a little less awful

The company's latest test is another baby step toward curbing problems that have dogged the platform for years.


June 12, 2020

Credit: Claudio Schwarz on Unsplash

Hey, did you do the reading?

Bet you thought you’d left that question behind in Psych 101. It’s making a comeback — but this time Twitter’s asking, instead of some random guy from your lecture.

The app is testing a new feature that aims to check trigger-happy tweeters: If a user retweets an article without opening it, a prompt will pop up encouraging them to read it first. 

Think before you tweet

Trolls, Reply Guys, literal Nazis – Twitter has taken plenty of flack over the years for not addressing some of its darker demons. But the new test is Twitter’s latest baby step toward changing that.

  • Late last year, Twitter tested a feature allowing some users to hide specific replies. The platform took it a step further in May, giving some users more flexibility in limiting replies. 
  • After conspiracy-theory Twitter had a field day with COVID-19 misinformation, the app began labeling tweets with “disputed content” – slapping warnings on everyone from 5G truthers to President Trump.
  • Last month, Twitter rolled out a feature prompting people to revise replies it deemed potentially harmful.

Twitter’s tighten-the-screws strategy isn’t universal among social behemoths — Facebook has taken a more laissez-faire approach

And that’s putting it mildly

Mark Zuckerberg’s hands-off style on political speech has landed him in hot water with just about everyone — his own staff, the scientists he supports, and now Joe Biden.

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