Are you guilty of retweeting articles that you haven’t actually read? To help curb the spread of misinformation, Twitter is introducing a “headlines don’t tell the full story” prompt that shows up when you retweet an article without checking its contents. The prompt, which Twitter began testing in June, will roll out globally “soon.”
Twitter’s new prompt is an interesting take on content moderation, as it encourages users to curb the spread of information on their own profile. Looking at Twitter’s preliminary tests, the prompt is also incredibly effective. People took the time to open an article 40% more often after seeing the “headlines don’t tell the full story” prompt, and often decided not to retweet the content after opening it.
We shouldn't have to say this, but you should read an article before you Tweet it. https://t.co/Apr9vZb2iI
So, we’ve been prompting some people to do exactly that. Here’s what we’ve learned so far. ⤵️
— Twitter Comms (@TwitterComms) September 24, 2020
The prompts also promote media literacy—a more effective tool against misinformation than aggressive content moderation or account suspensions. Twitter says that people who encounter the prompt are more likely to open an article before pressing the retweet button. However, some users continue to blow past the prompt without opening what they’re retweeting.
Twitter says that the “headlines don’t tell the full story” prompt will see a global rollout “soon.” The website also plans to shrink the size of its prompt after you’ve seen it once.