Social media site Twitter is reportedly altering how retweets work on its platform ahead of the November presidential election in an attempt to prevent the spread of what it considers “misinformation” on the platform. The company hopes that adding “friction,” or extra clicks, will slow down the virality of content like the New York Post Biden bombshells the company clumsily censored last week.
The Verge reports that social media giant Twitter is altering how retweets on its platform work ahead of the November 3 presidential election in an attempt to prevent the spread of “misinformation.” From today, when users click or tap the retweet icon, Twitter will automatically pull up the Quote Tweet composer to encourage users to write something about the tweet before sharing it. Tech companies call this “friction,” additional steps that slow down or disrupt the user experience.
Users don’t have to write anything if they don’t want to, but Twitter is hoping that by introducing an extra step into the retweet process, users might consider exactly what they’re retweeting or decide to take the opportunity to add their own perspective.
It is a blatant attempt to slow down the virality of tweets the company doesn’t like, such as President Donald Trump’s posts, or the spread of the New York Post‘s Biden bombshells. Twitter’s outright censorship of the Post failed, with the MIT Technology Review finding that the censorship actually doubled the articles’ attention on the platform.
Twitter also plans to stop showing “liked by” or “followed by” recommendations from people that users don’t follow and the trends box will only show trends with “additional context.” Like the change to retweets, these changes will also impair Twitter’s traditional user experience, which may prove troubling for advertisers and shareholders.
The changes will be in place from today until at least the end of election week in the United States.
The New York Post recently reported that Twitter’s executives and employees appear to have a long history of anti-Trump bias according to a review of dozens of accounts.