With the 2020 US presidential election less than a month away, Twitter has introduced a series of measures that discourage retweets and restrict content that Twitter deems to be “misleading.”
The most notable of these new measures is a prompt that directs users to “credible” information whenever they attempt to retweet something that has been branded as “misleading” by Twitter.
A sample of the prompt that will appear when users attempt to retweet something that Twitter deems to be “misleading” (Twitter Blog)
Twitter will also start directing users to the quote tweet composer when they attempt to retweet anything, even tweets that aren’t deemed to be misleading, and encourage them to “add their own commentary.”
Both measures add more friction to the process of retweeting and are likely to dissuade some users from retweeting and cut down the overall volume of retweets on the site.
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In addition to the retweet-related changes, Twitter also wrote that US political figures (including candidates and campaign accounts), US-based accounts with over 100,000 followers, and accounts that “obtain significant engagement” will now have their tweets hidden behind a warning if they’re slapped with a “misleading information label.”
A sample of the warning label that will appear on top of tweets that Twitter deems to be “misleading” (Twitter Blog)
Labeled tweets will also be removed from Twitter’s algorithmic recommendations and have likes, retweets, and replies turned off.
Additionally, Twitter will be restricting the types of tweets that are recommended to users by only showing them “liked by” and “followed by” timeline recommendations from accounts that they follow and only surfacing trends in the “For You” tab in the United States when they have Twitter’s “additional context.”
Essentially this means that the organic distribution of viral tweets will be slashed because they’ll be recommended to fewer non-followers and the trends in the For You tab in the US, which Twitter admits is “where the vast majority of people discover what’s trending,” will be 100% curated. Even if a trend is organically popular, Twitter can eliminate it from this tab by not adding context.
These new measures are the latest of numerous changes Twitter has made in the run-up to the election that editorializes election-related content and suppresses narratives that Twitter deems to be misleading or “misinformation.”
The censorship of “disputed” election claims, the banning of “hacked” material, and the censorship of President Trump’s statements are some of the other restrictions Twitter has imposed on election-related content as the election draws near.