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Twitter : Slows Down Retweets Ahead of U.S. Election--Update

10/09/2020 | 12:30pm EST

By Georgia Wells

Twitter Inc. will make it harder for posts to go viral ahead of the U.S. election, including by putting limits on how users can retweet.

The moves unveiled Friday, which also include pointing users viewing certain tweets to credible content, are among the boldest yet for the social-media platform and are designed to slow the spread of misinformation.

Where users previously hit a button to reshare, or "retweet," items, they will now be directed to a screen that will encourage adding commentary before resharing posts. If users don't write anything, their post will still appear as a traditional retweet -- but the change "adds some extra friction" in the process, according to a company blog post.

Twitter will start experimenting with this change for some users later on Friday and will roll it out to all users Oct. 20. The change will last at least through the end of the week of the U.S. election.

"We hope it will encourage everyone to not only consider why they are amplifying a tweet, but also increase the likelihood that people add their own thoughts," Twitter's legal, policy, trust and safety head Vijaya Gadde and product lead Kayvon Beykpour wrote in a blog post Friday.

Social-media companies have been scrambling to clamp down on potential confusion and ways their platforms can be abused to undermine the integrity of the political process in the U.S.

Facebook Inc. has said it would suspend all political advertising after the polls close Nov. 3, something that other platforms including Twitter and TikTok have already implemented, and many platforms, including Facebook and Twitter, have taken steps to ban QAnon, the fast-growing conspiracy movement.

Twitter has conducted prior experiments to encourage users to read articles before sharing them on the site.

Additionally, Twitter plans to display a new prompt that provides credible information when users attempt to retweet a post that Twitter has identified as containing misleading information. This change starts next week.

Twitter currently labels tweets that contain misleading information about Covid-19 and U.S. elections, among other items. Tweets that receive these labels are de-amplified in Twitter's algorithm, and the company, in some cases, will remove these tweets.

(More to Come)

Write to Georgia Wells at Georgia.Wells@wsj.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

10-09-20 1229ET

Stocks mentioned in the article
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TWITTER 0.58% 44.94 Delayed Quote.39.41%
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Financials (USD)
Sales 2020 3 611 M - -
Net income 2020 -1 104 M - -
Net cash 2020 4 850 M - -
P/E ratio 2020 -32,2x
Yield 2020 -
Capitalization 35 447 M 35 447 M -
EV / Sales 2020 8,47x
EV / Sales 2021 7,09x
Nbr of Employees 4 900
Free-Float 96,4%
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Average target price 44,68 $
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