Pixel Envy

Written by Nick Heer.

Ahead of U.S. Presidential Election, Twitter Introduces Features Designed to Slow the Spread of Misinformation

Kate Conger, New York Times:

Twitter took steps on Friday to slow the way information flows on its network, even changing some of its most basic features, as alarm grows that lies and calls for violence will sweep through social media in the weeks surrounding the presidential election.

The changes will temporarily alter the look and feel of Twitter. The company will essentially give users a timeout, for example, before they can hit the button to retweet a post from another account. And if users try to share content that Twitter has flagged as false, a notice will warn them that they are about to share inaccurate information.

Twitter also said it would add a label to claims about who won the election until it has been called by authoritative sources.

Suggested posts will also be disabled in users’ timelines, but Trending Topics will not be disabled. That kind of sucks. Trending Topics are a notorious dumpster fire of bad information, hashtags juiced by 4chan trolls, and out-of-context nonsense.

Twitter says that most of the pre-election changes are temporary, but I hope they keep the added friction for retweets. It certainly will not eliminate false tweets and links from spreading, but seems like a simple way to get people to think just a little harder about what they are amplifying.

It is telling that the campaign for the current White House occupant is furious about these modest changes.