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Twitter tests request for users to actually read articles before sharing

(Image credit: Sara Kurfeß on Unsplash)

Whether you use it for work, entertainment or to shout about things from inside the White House, there's no denying that Twitter can be a quite a fiery place. The social media platform has recently been doubling down on the spread of misinformation and now, in an attempt to promote informed discussion, Twitter is testing a new prompt asking if users really want to share an article they haven't actually read yet.

It's easy for articles to go viral on Twitter based on their headline alone, and while you'd hope most users actually read what they share, time is of the essence when there's an argument to be won (especially in 280 characters). If this tweak does help curb misinformation, perhaps it could finally nudge Twitter into our list of the best social media platforms for artists and designers. 

There are some limitations to the feature. Not only is it currently being tested exclusively on Android, but it can also only detect when an article has been opened within Twitter itself. This has already proved a point of contention for some users carrying multiple devices, or those (we assume there are still a few) who don't find all of their news on Twitter:

One parody news website has found an amusing way to prove Twitter's point. The Science Post published an article with the headline: 70% of Facebook users only read the headline of science stories before commenting. It has currently been shared almost 130,000 times – despite the article itself being made up entirely of filler 'lorem ipsum' text. 

As you might expect (this is Twitter after all), the response to the feature has been heated. Those who disapprove have accused the social media platform of "playing God" and treating its users "like toddlers". Others have welcomed the proposal, calling it a "great initiative" and a "superb concept". Twitter's product lead Kayvon Beykpour expanded on the rationale behind the idea: 

Time will tell whether the feature will make it beyond Android testing. In the meantime, now that you've reached the end of this article, feel free to share it on Twitter. You could even use one of our favourite social media schedulers, if you're busy. 

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