Twitter quietly rolls out changes


Twitter just rolled out a new design for embedded tweets that could attract new users to the site, while deterring fake bot accounts at the same time. Embedded tweets on news stories and other sites no longer show how many times a post has been retweeted, according to Slate, which first spotted the change. Instead, embedded posts now show how many ‘people are talking about’ a tweet, using a metric that combines both replies and retweets. The tech giant hasn’t publicly acknowledged the change, but Twitter users began noticing the update on Tuesday. A Twitter spokesperson confirmed to that the change was rolled out globally on Tuesday. The spokesperson added that the site is always looking for new ways to provide better social context around tweets. The new design caters to non-Twitter users who regularly interact with tweets. More than 1 billion people see embedded tweets every month, but not every one of them has a Twitter account. For example, if someone who doesn’t use Twitter stumbles across a post that’s gotten 10,000 retweets, they may not understand what a retweet is. Incorporating a feature that notes how many people are interacting with or discussing a tweet might encourage them to make an account and add to the conversation. ‘We found that people viewing Tweets off-platform were more likely to engage with them when we focused on providing conversational context,’ Twitter spokesperson Dan Jackson told Slate. Jackson added that Twitter began trying out new ways to show how many people engaged with a tweet last year. Last November, TechCrunch reported that Twitter was testing out a new feature showing how many people are talking about a tweet.

The tweet above shows how the retweet metric has been replaced by a number signifying how many users are ‘talking about this.’
The move could also serve as an indirect deterrent for bot accounts, Slate noted. A Twitter bot is an account that’s controlled via software that automatically retweets and likes posts, or follows and direct messages other accounts. Since embedded posts no longer show how many times the tweet has been retweeted, it removes one of the main tactics bot accounts use to, sometimes maliciously, make a tweet appear more popular than it really is. Bot accounts could still automatically reply to tweets, but that activity is much more conspicuous and more uncommon. Over the past year, Twitter has experienced a reckoning around its massive bot problem. A recent investigation by the New York Times found that millions of accounts on Twitter might be fake, created by a shadowy American company called Devumi, to help celebrities and influencers gain followers. Twitter, Facebook and Google have appeared in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee for several hearings surrounding how the platforms were used to manipulate the outcome of the 2016 presidential election. Twitter recently told U.S. lawmakers that Russia-linked Twitter bots retweeted Donald Trump about 500,000 times in the fives weeks leading up to the election. Amazingly, these tweets accounted for 4.25 percent of all the retweets then-candidate Trump received during that time period. The firm has since taken several key steps to reduce the number of bot accounts on its platform. Every day, Twitter blocks 523,000 suspicious logins that it believes to be from automated accounts, Slate noted. The firm has also gotten better at detecting when a bot replies to a tweet faster than a human could. Source MailOnline]]>


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