Twitter brings old retweet function back after US presidential election

Twitter is reversing changes to its retweet feature to help curb the spread of misinformation during the US presidential election.

The microblogging site had made it difficult for users to retweet a misinformation tweet in October and encouraged the use of quote tweets that included comments from the user.

It had also imposed restrictions, including flagging and removing tweets asking people to interfere in the electoral process or the implementation of the results.

Twitter said it will no longer pick up quote tweets via the retweet icon. “The retweet functionality will be the same as before,” the company said in a statement on Wednesday.

Quote tweets rather than retweets should encourage thoughtful reinforcement, but that hasn’t happened in practice, the company said.

“The use of quote tweets increased, but 45 percent of them had one-word affirmations and 70 percent had fewer than 25 characters,” it said.

“The increase in quote tweets was also offset by a 20 percent decrease in approval from retweets and quote tweets.”

Meanwhile, Facebook has been rolling back its algorithm in the past few days that it used to post news from authoritative outlets through non-partisan sources after the November election, according to a report in the New York Times.

Facebook did not immediately respond to Reuters’ request for comment.

The implementation of the algorithm has resulted in a decrease in traffic for partisan sites like Breitbart and Occupy Democrats and an increase for mainstream news publishers, the report said.

© Thomson Reuters 2020

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