Twitter is a great place to keep up with the news, but sometimes we’re all guilty of retweeting or responding to a post without reading its contents. Now, Twitter’s Android app is testing a new prompt which will remind users to actually read an article before they retweet it.

It’s unclear when this functionality will go live, but Twitter says in a tweet on its Support account that this is only in “testing.” Presumably, that means it will only be available for some users until expanding to a wider audience.

The goal of this new feature is to “promote informed discussion.” Often, sharing an article without reading it can lead to the spread of misinformation or partial truths, so it’s good to see Twitter attempting to curb that problem. It’d be nice, too, if this same prompt applied to replies, as some users will often only read a headline before responding.

There are no screenshots of this functionality in action, but we’re thinking it will show as a warning-style prompt if you never clicked the article’s link. It’s also unclear what conditions will apply to the tweet. Will it work if images or videos are also embedded in the tweet? Will it apply to all links? For now, these questions remain unanswered. If you happen to see this functionality live on your device, let me know!

Update 9/25: After being in testing with some users over the past couple of months, Twitter has announced that it will be rolling out this feature to all users globally “soon.”

During the testing period, Twitter found that this prompt was actually quite effective. It resulted in people opening articles about 40% more and 33% more before actually retweeting an article. In some cases, the prompt left a user deciding not to retweet the article at all. When the feature rolls out widely, it will also be smaller on the screen after its first appearance.

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Ben Schoon

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