Neptune Navigate Blog

Tips for online safety, security, and responsible digital citizenship for parents, kids, and families.

Read Before Re-Tweeting

December 15, 2020

Every time I open Twitter there’s an article that someone retweets in order to spark conversation.  Unfortunately, it often appears as if the person retweeting the article never actually read it!  It’s really easy to get caught up in a headline thinking that’s the full content of the story then retweeting it,  and actively spreading misleading information.

Twitter is working on bringing a “read before you you retweet” feature that will prompt users to do just that.    “Encouraging people to at least read the article they’re sharing seems like a smart way to promote media literacy and stop some of the knee-jerk reactions that can make misinformation viral.”  To help promote informed discussion, when you retweet an article that you haven’t opened on Twitter, you’ll be asked if you’d like to open and read it first.

The initial test of this feature with Android devices showed promising results.  It says that “people shown the prompt opened articles 40 percent more often and that the overall proportion of people opening articles before retweeting increased by 33 percent.”  The test also revealed an undefined number of people who chose not to retweet the article at all after reading it.

Twitter is also working on other features such as a prompt that warns users before they send offensive replies and an option that allows the user to limit who replies to their tweets.   Twitter is taking intentional steps to help improve the integrity of their platform and provide some accountability for their users.  With the abundance of misinformation out there, and very few people “reading before retweeting” maybe the next feature will be to prompt users to stop and think before they tweet anything at all.  We can only hope!