After seeing success with its warning pop-ups when users attempt to retweet a tweet that includes a disputed claim, Twitter is now expanding those warnings to also include Likes of disputed tweets.
As you can see in this example, posted by reverse engineering expert Jane Manchun Wong earlier this month, now, when you go to Like a tweet which has already been labeled as including potentially false information, you’ll get a prompt asking whether you really want to go through with that action.
As explained by Twitter:
“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.”
That added friction could get more users to reconsider sharing potentially false info – and while Likes are not as directly connected to re-distribution as retweets and shares, Twitter’s algorithm is influenced by Like activity. If you Like a tweet, for example, there’s a chance that your followers will see it in their stream as something that they may also be interested in.
As such, it makes sense to add warning prompts to Likes and Retweets of such content – and as Twitter notes, it’s already seen a significant impact by simply prompting users to re-think their retweets of disputed posts.
Twitter also added similar pop-up alerts on articles that users attempt to retweet without actually opening the article link, which also lead to people opening articles 40% more often. Given the results, you can see why Twitter is looking to expand these reminders – but they’ll no doubt upset some people who prefer to decide for themselves what’s true and what’s not, and will resent Twitter for interfering.
But it seems like a logical addition – if Twitter’s not going to halt all engagement activity outright on disputed tweets (it does for certain violations), then this seems like a good compromise, and the numbers show that such prompts do have an impact in limiting the spread of potentially misleading information.
It could be another step in the right direction in slowing the momentum of dangerous conspiracy theories.