On Wednesday, a change to Twitter started rolling out that many users don’t seem to be fans of.
That change is to how users retweet content from others. If you head to Twitter now and hit retweet you won’t be offered an option of retweeting or quote tweeting as you normally would. Instead, you will be directed straight to composing a quoted tweet.
Now Twitter did announce this change in a blog back on 9th October and it explained why it was making this change. The short answer is to stop the spread of misinformation and more ahead of the US elections.
The longer reason follows on below.
“We will encourage people to add their own commentary prior to amplifying content by prompting them to Quote Tweet instead of Retweet. People who go to Retweet will be brought to the Quote Tweet composer where they’ll be encouraged to comment before sending their Tweet. Though this adds some extra friction for those who simply want to Retweet, we hope it will encourage everyone to not only consider why they are amplifying a Tweet, but also increase the likelihood that people add their own thoughts, reactions and perspectives to the conversation,” Twitter said earlier in October.
For those who just want to retweet, you can simply omit your comment and the tweet will be retweeted as normal.
The more notable change that came down this week, however, is the change to how “liked by” and “followed by” tweets appear. As in, if you don’t follow certain people, their tweets will no longer appear in the timeline.
“These recommendations can be a helpful way for people to see relevant conversations from outside of their network, but we are removing them because we don’t believe the “Like” button provides sufficient, thoughtful consideration prior to amplifying Tweets to people who don’t follow the author of the Tweet, or the relevant topic that the Tweet is about,” the social network wrote.
“This will likely slow down how quickly Tweets from accounts and topics you don’t follow can reach you, which we believe is a worthwhile sacrifice to encourage more thoughtful and explicit amplification,” explained Twitter.
Why Twitter thought users wanted to see things from folks they don’t follow or what Peter in HR likes is beyond us. Many users, ourselves included, take care to tailor their timelines to eliminate guff so perhaps this change should remain in place after the US elections.
For now, get used to this new way of retweeting, it might be a bit of a pain but if it forces people to stop and think before they retweet, we can live with the change.