Twitter’s attempt to encourage users to read articles before mindlessly retweeting them has been met with confusion among some high-profile conservatives.
Twitter beta-tested the “Read Before You Retweet” function in June and rolled it out to all users in September after promising tests. The function works like this: When you try to retweet an article you haven’t clicked, Twitter will display a prompt advising you to first read it. At that point, you can choose to read the article or go ahead and retweet or quote-tweet it.
Below, you can see our efforts to re-tweet a Washington Post article without clicking on it. The pop-up appears, and we hit Quote Tweet. From there, we can add a comment, or simply tap Retweet and it’ll appear without a comment.
The pop-ups are intended “to help promote informed discussion,” Twitter says, particularly as Election Day nears. Some people, however, were apparently not aware of Twitter’s new feature.
As The Verge points out, conservative writer David Steinberg took to Twitter after the pop-up appeared when he tried to re-tweet a Wall Street JournalWall Street Journal article about Republican congressional candidate Kimberly Klacik. “This should disturb every American,” he wrote, later adding, “Twitter is censoring black women for not being Democrats.”
Rep. Doug Collins (R-GA), currently running for US Senate, posted something similar after trying to post articles from a Fox News host. “Twitter is censoring all of Sean Hannity’s tweets. Big Tech doesn’t want you to know the truth!”
Twitter product lead Kayvon Beykpour responded to Collins. “We’re just encouraging people to read articles before sharing them (if we detect you haven’t),” he wrote. “We do this across any article you attempt to share without reading. You are still able to share without opening the article if you want to by tapping once.”
Twitter Comms also responded to House Judiciary Committee Republicans, who also got the pop-up on a Sean Hannity article. The company reminded the lawmakers that all they had to do to retweet or quote-tweet the article was click once more.