In 2016, U.S. tech companies were criticized for allowing the spread of misinformation on their platforms. Now, they’re swinging hard in the other direction with new initiatives aimed at stomping down misinformation before it spreads.
Twitter this week announced a change it would be rolling out worldwide in service of the U.S. presidential elections. Until the elections are over, it would make retweeting a smidge harder. Currently, there are two ways to retweet: a regular retweet, and a quote tweet where you retweet with a little comment of yours added on top.
Previously, you could choose whether to retweet or quote tweet. Now, Twitter will automatically default users into the quote tweet option. If you want to retweet as normal, the company says you can just not enter anything into the tweet composer.
It’s a step taken to dissuade knee-jerk retweeting and encourage users to think about what they’re sharing. It’s similar to the company’s new prompt to read articles before retweeting them.
Not all of Twitter’s measures are seen as harmless, an incident regarding hacked materials last week catapulted the company into the sights of political opponents. Dealing with electoral matters will always be sensitive, and no tech company has handled it well enough to win acclaim yet.