Twitter Urges You to Read Articles Before Posting -- Is That The End of Fake News?

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In an attempt to tackle disinformation and fake news, Twitter will start a test pushing people to read articles before sharing. The company is introducing prompt asking users whether they want to retweet a piece they have never opened. 

"Sharing an article can spark conversation, so you may want to read it before you tweet," Twitter said in a statement on Wednesday, highlighting that the move aims to fuel "informed discussions."

The test will be first limited to English-speaking Android users. It is not clear yet when Twitter will bring the new feature to other operating systems.

Twitter pointed out that the idea is not to ban such tweets. It instead aims to include "friction" into the process to inspire some users to rethink their behavior online. Besides, Twitter also wants to improve its platform health without being accused of censorship.

Twitter product lead Kayvon Beykpour declined accusations that the platform's new feature is a hidden attempt to secure a revenue stream via click-through to third-party websites. Beykpour emphasized that the company does not test ad products with the prompts.

Also, Beykpour confirmed that Twitter will only check if the user has clicked the article link through Twitter, not elsewhere on the Internet.

The issue of users sharing random links without reading them first is not new. According to a 2016 joined study by Columbia University and Microsoft, 59% of the links posted on Twitter are never clicked.

The newly-introduced trial is not the first step Twitter is undertaking to foster meaningful conversations. Earlier in spring, the platform started experimenting with asking users to "revise" their replies if they were about to send tweets with inappropriate or harmful language to others.

According to the company's global head of site policy, the move aimed to encourage people to rethink their language and expression before posting as when they get overexcited over a particular topic, and they may say something they will regret later. Twitter later said the initiative turned out not to be as successful as expected.

Last month, the social media channel launched another test to allow users to limit who can reply to their tweets. The service was available on Android, iOS, and the Twitter's app. Nowadays, some users can still restrict replies to everyone, people they follow, or other users they mention.  Twitter is also working on a cleaner interface for threaded conversations on the platform.

What do you think? Do you believe that the new Twitter policy will put an end to the spread of disinformation and fake news?