Fake news and misinformation isn’t anything new. Under a heavy election season amidst all of 2020’s unfoldings, Twitter has taken a step in ensuring information is shared responsibly. In June, the company tested out a feature to ask users if they read an article before retweeting it.
A headline can stir up a lot of interest and emotion surrounding certain topics. While a powerful headline proves to catch more people’s attention it fails to tell the whole story. This often leads scrollers to share information that might not be as helpful as they thought.
🔜 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
— Twitter Comms (@TwitterComms) September 24, 2020
“It’s easy for links/articles to go viral on Twitter,” tweeted product lead Kayvon Beykpour. “This can be powerful but sometimes dangerous, especially if people haven’t read the content they’re spreading.”
As humans, we are built to seek out connection and help others in our community. The way social media is designed is to accelerate these connections while missing deep key components.
According to Mashable, the test period in June found that people opened articles 40 percent more often after seeing the prompt. This feature serves almost like a buffer that pauses the initial emotion felt when scanning through the headline. Keep in mind, this feature does not prevent users from retweeting.
In other examples, Twitter has noticed that some people will actually decide not to share the article after reading the full scope of content. As fast as social media moves, it is crucial we take measures to slow down our consumption rate to create space for a harmonious experience when digesting or sharing news.
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