Social media is a constantly evolving realm, and of course, Twitter is no exception. In October, they announced some important changes to the way people can share information within the platform as the social network prepared for one of the most contentious elections in modern day U.S. history. With these changes, Twitter caused a mass amount of confusion, but its goal was simple: to make users really think about the content they share.
To put it simply: Twitter changed what happens when you click the ‘retweet’ button.
In the past when a user clicked the retweet button, they would be given two options, the users could just retweet the tweet or post a quote tweet (meaning a user can comment with the retweeted tweet shared via an embed.). However, now if a user clicks the retweet button, it will automatically bring up the quote tweet option. It is no longer an option to just retweet it quite so simply. This confused a large number of twitter users, as there was a misconception that you could only quote tweet, but you can still retweet as normal - Twitter is now simply prompting us to add our own opinion to the content we share.
The main reason for the update was to prevent and prohibit mass retweeting of fake news and misinformation in the weeks leading to the U.S. presidential election. Twitter stated that they hope this change within the platform urges users to think twice about what they are sharing before retweeting it. Twitter officially expressed “Though this adds some extra friction for those who simply want to retweet, we hope it will encourage everyone to not only consider why they are amplifying a Tweet, but also increase the likelihood that people add their own thoughts, reactions and perspectives to the conversation”.
This is not the only change twitter has implemented though! Now when a user tries to retweet an article, twitter will prompt a double-checking feature which ensures the user has read the article first before retweeting. Twitter tested the new feature during the summer and have now launched it to all users. Once again, many users became confused as they did not understand the logic of the change, but once understood it makes it clear that users must fully comprehend what articles they retweet.
Twitter also made the decision to turn off timeline recommendations to decelerate how fast tweets can reach people from accounts they do not follow. Twitter said this decision is a “worthwhile sacrifice to encourage more thoughtful and explicit amplification.” They will also allow trending content that has further context to appear in the ‘for you’ recommendations segment, ensuring an efficient effort to slow down the rapid spread of misinformation. To be precise, Twitter is executing these features to everyone, not to a specific demographic or specific articles.
These new features highlight how committed Twitter are to protecting the sanctity of democracy, through acknowledging their crucial role in the U.S. election and taking actions to try to encourage the truth. Their dedication to this cause is quite a serious endeavour, as they devoted teams to monitoring specific segments within the platform that responded rapidly on the night of the election, and the subsequent time after.
This commitment paid off as the work they did arguably helped in creating a truthful reflection on social media of the issues at hand, and thus ended with the triumph of Joe Biden.
And that’s it
If you would like to discuss your own PR and marketing activity and find a way to pivot your brand effectively over the next few months, get in touch with us at Roland Dransfield and we’ll be able to help you out.
And if you’re looking for a bit of escapism, you might enjoy our new podcast, We Built This City. In it, we catch up with notable Mancunians – born, bred or adopted - who helped shape the city we live in today, and find out how they have helped to put the heart into Modern Manchester. Hopefully it helps inspire you over the coming weeks. Listen live here and please do rate and review. Thank you.