Twitter tests request for users to actually read articles before sharing

Whether you use it for work, entertainment or to shout about things from inside the White House, there is no denying that Twitter can be a very racy place. The social media platform has recently doubled down on the dissemination of misinformation and now, in an effort to foster informed discussion, Twitter is testing a new indication of whether users actually want to share an article, which is actually I have not read yet.

This is easy for articles going viral on Twitter based on their title alone, and while you would expect that most users actually share what they share, the essence of the time is when the winning argument happens (especially 280 In characters). If this tweak helps curb misinformation, maybe it can add Twitter to our list of the best social media platforms for artists and designers.

Sharing an article can spark conversation, so you may want to read it before tweeting it. To help foster informed discussion, we’re testing a new hint on Android – when you upload an article you haven’t opened on Twitter, we can ask if you want to open it first Want to June 10, 2020

The feature has some limitations. Not only is it currently being tested exclusively on Android, but it can only be detected when an article has been opened within Twitter. This has already proven to be a point of contention for some users carrying multiple devices, or those (we believe there are still some) who don’t get all their news on Twitter:

I do not have my NYT or my WaPo subscriptions tied to my Twitter account. I read my newspapers on a different device and am not interested in changing them. Just because I have not opened an article on Twitter, does not mean that I have not read it. June 10, 2020

A parody news website has found an entertaining way to prove Twitter’s point. Science Post published an article with the title: 70% of Facebook users only read the science stories headline before commenting. It has currently been shared nearly 130,000 times – despite the article itself being made entirely from the filler ‘Lorem Epsom’ text.

As you might expect (it’s Twitter after all), the response to the feature has become heated. Disappointers have accused social media platforms of “playing the role of God” and treating their users like “toddlers”. Others have welcomed the proposal, calling it a “fantastic initiative” and a “brilliant concept”. Kayev Beypore, who led the Twitter product elaborated on the rationale behind the idea:

It is easy for a link/article to go viral on Twitter. It can be powerful but sometimes dangerous, especially if people do not read the content they are spreading. This feature (for now on Android) encourages people to read a linked article before uploading it. https://t.co/qdYZ8w9e27June 10, 2020

Time will tell if this feature goes beyond Android testing. In the meantime, now that you’ve reached the end of this article, feel free to share it on Twitter. If you are busy you can also use one of our favorite social media schedulers.

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