“A lie can travel halfway around the world while the truth is still putting on its shoes.” Mark Twain didn’t actually say that, but it’s true nonetheless. Especially—and unfortunately—in the 21st century with social media. But it’s more than just lies than can spread quickly. It’s bad ideas or opinions, even dangerous ones. So to help combat those problems Twitter will begin asking all of its users a simple question before they hit retweet on an article: did you actually read it?
Twitter has announced plans (which we heard about at Mashable) to expand a pilot program it launched with select users back in July. It’s a small approach and trying to curb a major problem. Before someone can retweet an article, a prompt will appear asking the user if they have in fact read the article they are about to re-share with their followers.
📰 More reading – people open articles 40% more often after seeing the prompt— Twitter Comms (@TwitterComms) September 24, 2020
📰 More informed Tweeting – people opening articles before RTing increased by 33%
📰 Some people didn’t end up RTing after opening the article – which is fine! Some Tweets are
best left in drafts 😏
At first this might sound like a silly method. But the stats Twitter shared from the test run of the program show it did make a difference. It altered, for the better, the actions of a significant percentage of users.
- 40% more people opened the article after seeing the prompt
- 33% more opened their article before retweeting it
- some people didn’t share it at all after reading the article
It’s curious the social media giant didn’t share the exact numbers on that last point. But one less awful retweet can have a butterfly effect, and we’re happy with any kind of progress in the slowing the spread of misinformation.
Twitter says it will make it so the prompt appears smaller after you’ve seen it for the first time, because they “get that you get it.” Additionally, the company is working to bring the feature to users around the globe.
That’s excellent news, because that’s where lies can spread before the truth even had a chance to read the article.
Featured Image: Twitter