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. Breitbart News recently reported on the New York Post’s bombshell story that indicated that Joe Biden may have met with an adviser to the board of Burisma while he was Vice President, arranged by his son Hunter, who was working as a lobbyist for the company at the time. Joe Biden has previously said, “I have never spoken to my son about his overseas business dealings.”
However, the leaked emails appear to show that Hunter introduced his father to a Bursima executive less than a year before Biden, acting as Vice President, pressured the Ukrainian government into firing a prosecutor who was investigating the company. Shortly after the story broke, many found themselves having trouble sharing it across social media. This censorship comes just weeks after executives from both Facebook and Twitter joined the Biden transition team.
The Post‘s Twitter account is still banned for sharing the story more than four days since it broke. The Post has since examined the Twitter profiles of a number of Twitter employees and discovered a long-running theme of anti-Trump bias. The Post claims that on August 18, a senior site reliability engineer at Twitter wrote: “GET HIM OUT… What a f–king baboon,” in relation to President Trump.