Limits on mindless retweeting are on the horizon; Twitter is no stranger to reinventing itself but the looming presidential elections in the United States are truly pushing it to the brim. Of course, that’s hardly a surprise following years of pressure for its lackdaisical approach to the past election cycle. Well, that’s definitely not the case this time around. Even to the point of Twitter crippling core platform functionality in its pre-emptive efforts to combat misinformation.
Any misleading election-related tweets will start seeing much less virality potential from Tuesday, October 20th, Twitter announced. Whether someone’s falsely claiming a premature victory for either candidate or is talking nonsense about mail-in ballots, the company will attempt addressing those honest-to-god mistakes with some serious-looking labels. Here’s how that will look like in practice:
Seems familiar? It should, if you’re a somewhat regular Twitter user. These kinds of labels have been adorning the 45th’s tweets for a while now.
Twitter’s rules against mindless retweeting will be going live globally
But anyway, Twitter will urge you to inform yourself on any particular matter before you start spreading what it deems misinformation. Another change will see the platform prompt you to quote tweets instead of just resharing them. The thinking here is that much more subtle; i.e. by getting some users to ponder controversial topics, Twitter is hoping to lead them to enlightenment. Which sounds ironic but really isn’t, it’s just that Twitter’s train of thought is probably just a tiny bit naive.
Still, this civic integrity is important to a healthy democracy, even one that started half-believing freedom of speech means freedom from speech you dislike.
Another key tidbit here is that the majority of these changes will be going out globally. At least until the Election Day, November 3rd, is behind us. Managing essentially two different platforms would probably be too massive of a development nightmare for Twitter; this way, they’re pretty much just running an experimental Git repository until the elections are behind us. Back to the changes at hand, the final difference in how the microblogging platform works in the coming weeks will reflect on how much third-party content from accounts you don’t follow it serves. The target, as far as politics are cocnerned, is none, Twitter said.
While we wait for the breads and circuses season to be over, expect the 45th to attack Twitter on a few more occasions. You know, for old times’ sake.