Technology

Twitter Tests A New Feature That Tags The Original Tweeter

Twitter original tweeter
joshborup / Pixabay

Twitter appears to be testing a new feature that would make it easier for a user to identify the original tweeter of a post. This new Twitter feature will help users figure out who started a particular thread or if the person replying to one of their tweets is the person who actually started the thread or not.

A tag for the original tweeter

Twitter’s new feature is live for some Android and iOS users. It tags the person who started the thread as the “original tweeter.” In a statement to TechCrunch, Twitter confirmed it was rolling out the experiment to a “small percentage” of users.

“Twitter’s purpose is to serve the public conversation. As part of this work, we’re exploring adding more context to discussions by highlighting relevant replies – like those from the original Tweeter,” the micro-blogging firm said.

With this feature, the micro-blogging firm hopes to limit the practice of falsely pretending to be the person who started a thread. It could also help Twitter prevent some types of abuse on its platform. A scam involving Elon Musk is a good example of this. In this scam, which was uncovered last year, scammers posing as the Tesla CEO tried to trick real his followers into sending cryptocurrency to a link in the tweet — supposedly in exchange for more digital coins to be sent back to them later.

The new feature will help users identify when the person who started the thread replies to someone in a lengthy and popular thread. Even though Twitter verifies the accounts of well-known people like celebrities, politicians and journalists with the blue check mark, it does not stop users from mimicking the original tweeter by changing their name or profile picture.

If the feature rolls out publicly, it will be easier to see if the person replying is the original tweeter or not. Tagging a person as the original tweeter may not be the most elegant way to do this, but it still is a good start. When the final version of the feature rolls out, Twitter might change the way it tags the first person. For instance, Reddit uses a microphone icon to identify the original poster in threads.

How Twitter plans to make its platform better

Twitter has been working hard lately to make its platform better for everyone. In October, the company introduced a feature that made reporting tweets which break its rules a more transparent process. Thanks to that feature, removed tweets are now replaced with this message: “This tweet is no longer available because it violated the Twitter Rules.”

Twitter also started highlighting a tweet that a user reports. If you highlight a tweet that violates the rules, that tweet won’t appear in your feed. Instead, it will be replaced with this message: “You reported this tweet.”

Twitter also appears to have much bigger plans than just introducing occasional changes. At CES 2019, the micro-blogging platform announced plans for an open beta program. As the name suggests, the program will allow users to test new interface and features to make the platform better.

“We want to develop a service for the people that are using it, and we have to involve people in that way,” Twitter’s director of product management, Sara Haider, said on the Engadget CES 2019 stage. “We have a platform that the world uses to speak their mind, why not use that as part of our development process?”

At CES, Twitter made it very clear that encouraging healthy conversation on the platform is a priority for them. Moreover, the company launched many new features in its efforts to achieve its objective. Some of these features include status updates and indicators to let others know if you are available. Twitter also introduced a new design for replies.

The micro-blogging site is also possibly considering “ice breaker” tweets. Such tweets are aimed at starting a discussion about a specific topic by inviting others to express their thoughts on it. Twitter could also experiment by removing the hearts/like, replies, and retweet buttons.

Users planning to join Twitter’s open beta test will have to download a separate app. Although it sounds similar to Twitter’s Experiments Program, beta testers won’t be forced to sign a non-disclosure agreement. It means testers would be allowed to talk and share details with others about the features they see in the beta app.