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21 Oct, 2020 15:09

‘Not all Twitter users stay in US’: Anger erupts as Twitter implements temporary changes to retweet function ahead of US election

‘Not all Twitter users stay in US’: Anger erupts as Twitter implements temporary changes to retweet function ahead of US election

Twitter has made users jump through an additional hoop before they retweet a message on their platform, as part of a series of temporary measures purportedly designed to fight disinformation ahead of the US election.

In a blog post, the company announced that people who want to retweet a message will be directed to the ‘quote tweet’ composer, where they’ll be encouraged to add a comment before publishing the tweet. However, users can leave the composer blank and simply click the retweet button without adding their own commentary.

Additionally, starting next week, Twitter will direct people who try to retweet messages that are flagged as misleading or harmful toward “credible information about the topic before they are able to amplify it.”

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The company will also add new warnings and restrictions on tweets written by US political figures that are deemed misleading. US-based accounts with more than 100,000 followers, or accounts that “obtain significant engagement,” will also be subjected to heightened monitoring.

Twitter said that the new measures were designed to clamp down on the spread of misinformation that could potentially interfere with November’s presidential election. The temporary changes are also designed to encourage “thoughtful consideration” before tweeting, the company argued.

The temporary tweaks received mixed reviews from users.

Some argued that it was unfair to make retweeting more cumbersome since far from all Twitter users are American and many are not “impacted directly by your elections.”

American political commentator Dave Rubin saw a reflection of ‘reality war’ in Twitter’s retweet mechanism change.

Countless users fumed that the retweet changes were the “worst” feature Twitter has ever added, while others expressed frustration that the platform continues to drag its feet on popular requests such as an edit option or organizable bookmarks.

Some users speculated that Twitter is adding ‘friction’ to suppress information it does not want to be spread.

Still, there were plenty who didn’t understand what the fuss was about, noting that the retweet change just requires an extra click and could hardly be considered inconvenient.

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