Expanding upon an existing feature that warns users who attempt to retweet content that has already been flagged as “misleading information,” Twitter will now issue the same warning when users attempt to like content that has been similarly designated.
In the lead-up to the 2020 presidential election, Twitter announced in September that it planned to debut a number of policies aimed at curbing misinformation around the vote totals, pledging to tack on “additional warnings and restrictions on Tweets with a misleading information label from US political figures (including candidates and campaign accounts).”
The platform soon made good on that promise, flagging one of President Donald Trump’s tweets with a warning that “some or all of the content shared in this tweet is disputed” with just hours to go until voting in the general election got underway.
In a tweet, Twitter said that those prompts and others like them had helped to decrease quote tweets of the misleading information by 29%, prompting the platform to unveil similar speed bumps designed to slow users’ propensity to “like” tweets containing falsehoods.
Giving context on why a labeled Tweet is misleading under our election, COVID-19, and synthetic and manipulated media rules is vital.
These prompts helped decrease Quote Tweets of misleading information by 29% so we're expanding them to show when you tap to like a labeled Tweet. pic.twitter.com/WTK164nMfZ
— Twitter Support (@TwitterSupport) November 23, 2020
The option for users to pause and think before hitting ‘like’ or ‘retweet’ is part of a larger suite of features aimed at curbing the spread of misinformation that Twitter has recently unveiled. When users try to hit retweet on a tweet containing a link to an article they haven’t read, for example, the site now prompts a message encouraging the user to, you know, read the article before blindly sharing it with their followers.
The decision to add warning labels to “liked” tweets was first reported on by Jane Manchun Wong, a Hong Kong-based software engineer notorious for unveiling new features that apps like Twitter, Instagram and TikTok are testing in beta by reverse-engineering their code.
Although Twitter initially claimed that the new features would be in place “at least” until Election Day, the fact that they’re still being debuted more than three weeks out suggests that a longer-term approach towards content deamplification might be underway.