The Story Behind the Retweet
In early 2020, and before the meat of the 2020 election cycle, Twitter rolled out a new feature to its platform in another attempt to combat misinformation and intentional disinformation.
As Twitter says “Headlines don’t tell the full story.”
This is one of many changes the social media giant has implemented since President Donald Trump took office in 2016, which included a controversial decision to censor certain tweets by the President that were deemed as untrue.
This also comes in response to the fact that Americans’ trust in traditional media outlets has fallen in recent years and evidence that shows that people, more than ever, are turning to social media in order to get their news.
These changes set an entirely new precedent in social media platforms’ influence on journalism.
Twitter, along with other massive social media platforms, met with the United States Senate to explain the measures they were taking, and the legality of such a decision.
During it’s conception, Twitter was simply a forum where anybody over the age of 13 could come to share ideas and connect with others, but in a world where social media’s influence is increasing rapidly, Twitter had to decide whether it was important to distinguish between simple ideas, and flat out misinformation.
Despite accusations of censorship of conservative users on Twitter, experts say that evidence shows, oftentimes, conservative voices are most prevalent on the platform and that this censorship simply is made up.
This newest change by Twitter could potentially be helpful to journalism in more ways than just generating more clicks to an article, but to remind users to dive deeper into content before spreading misinformation.
With the push from traditional media coverage of news, to a more sensationalized, and short-form version of news via social media like on Twitter, platforms must make decisions on how to handle misinformation during their conception, and in order to help maintain journalistic integrity.