Twitter to Roll Out Prompt Warning You to Read the Dang Article

Twitter to Roll Out Prompt Warning You to Read the Dang Article
Graphic: KnowYourMeme/Gizmodo, Fair Use

Twitter is rolling out its system that warns its users that they’re huge dumbasses who might want to consider reading the goddamn article first, the company announced on Thursday. Basically, this is the 2020 equivalent of Microsoft Clippy asking “Are you sure you want to do that?”

Twitter wrote that its preliminary analysis of the prompt, which was launched on a test basis in June, shows that it actually managed to get past the brain-blood barrier and affect user behaviour. Now they’ve decided to deploy the feature to all users.

The prompt says “Headlines don’t tell the full story / You can read the article on Twitter before retweeting.” Twitter said showing the prompt increased open rates on articles by 40 per cent, raised the number of people who actually opened the article before retweeting by 33 per cent, and hopefully taught some cross-section of users to never tweet in the first place. The company tacitly acknowledged that last thing was probably for the best.

This isn’t the only change to Twitter’s UI that has come down the pipeline in recent months. Earlier this year, it rolled out a system for users to limit replies to their own tweets to only accounts they follow (or explicitly tagged) in an effort to limit harassment. It also implemented warning prompts to users about to send an angry reply to another user. After years of hemming and hawing on the subject, Twitter also finally began attaching fact-check labels to misinformation and hiding behind prompts threats of violence posted by world leaders like Donald Trump.