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Twitter Will Check if Articles Are Read Before Sharing

Twitter is testing a prompt to encourage you to read an article before sharing. New feature is limited to Android.

Twitter Will Check if Articles Are Read Before Sharing

Twitter announced a new feature that encourages Android Twitter users to read an article before reading it. This raised suspicions that Twitter was tracking user clicks.

The move is part of Twitter’s stated goal to encourage “informed discussion.” Often people share a link without reading the article.

That results in click bait titles getting widely promoted regardless of the content.

Click bait is generally created to trigger an emotional response by confirming or subverting a belief while the article itself might turn out to be less than what the title promised.

That results in the click bait title becoming the message even when that message is untrue.

According to Twitter’s announcement:

“Sharing an article can spark conversation, so you may want to read it before you Tweet it.

To help promote informed discussion, we’re testing a new prompt on Android –– when you Retweet an article that you haven’t opened on Twitter, we may ask if you’d like to open it first.”

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Twitter followed up with a tweet that explained that the goal was to “improve the health” of the discussion just as it begins:

Additionally, this feature only applies to links to news domains:

Related: 11 Ways to Increase User Engagement & Why It Matters for SEO

Experimental Feature

Twitter said that this is an experimental feature and that they’re limiting it to Android, presumably to work out any bugs.

Concerns Over Privacy Considerations

Some on Twitter raised concern about Twitter tracking users to see if they had read an article.

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But that’s not how the new nag prompt works:

Twitter does not track what users do on another site. Twitter only checks to see if you clicked the article link on Twitter itself before sharing the article.

Twitter was also accused of creating a new way to show more ads. But Twitter replied that was not the case.

Possible Bug in Twitter Prompt

Someone tweeted that they are subscribed to and read newspapers outside of the Twitter ecosystem. So if they share something they read outside of Twitter it will cause a prompt from Twitter to read the article.

Alan Bleiwess shared the same concern:

Takeaway:

If you have clicked to the article from a  Twitter link then Twitter won’t show the notice.

But if you haven’t clicked the article link then Twitter will show a notice encouraging you to read the article.

Something like this has the potential to annoy many users who share articles they have read outside of Twitter, without having clicked a link on Twitter.

In a test limited to Android, Twitter is prompting users to read an article before sharing. The goal is to encourage “informed” discussions.

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The goal behind this new feature is a good one. Many may welcome better discussions if this works. Others are already complaining about it.

Related: 7 Content Types That Gain the Most Engagement & Links

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Roger Montti

Roger Montti is a search marketer with 20 years experience. He provides site audits, phone consultations and content and link ... [Read full bio]

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