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A mockup of a prompt that reminds users that "Headlines Don't Tell The Full Story".


Dispel Rumors

Disallow Sharing of Unclicked Links

Cuts down on the spread of misinformation


What It Is

This is an interstitial popup or similar linked to a "share" or "retweet" or equivalent that detects whether or not you've clicked the link (and possibly spent any time on the link, if that's technically feasible to track). If you haven't, then the platform does not allow you to share the link.

What It Does

This makes people think about the content of what they are sharing, and therefore more likely to decide not to share things that look questionable upon further examination (headlines that aren't actually backed up by the content of the article, for example). Since misinformation is more easily identified by reading a full article than just be seeing a snippet or headline, this makes it likely to cut down on the sharing of misinformation.

When To Use It

This interstitial appears whenever a user is about to share a link on the app without having opened the link.

How We Know It Works

Twitter has started doing this and has tweeted short claims to its effectiveness. Since this is a promotion of their own product, we would like to see more detailed data and methodology, ideally from an independent source.

Why It Matters

A 2016 study from computer scientists at Columbia University and Microsoft found that 59% of links posted on Twitter are never clicked. The creation of user friction in these cases should, as Twitter has deduced, allow for more informed discussions and preempt the spread of hoaxes and disinformation.


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Our Confidence Rating


The research supporting this intervention, taken as a whole, is either of corporate origin, or is predominantly limited to descriptive studies. We still list these interventions to encourage further testing, as we believe their merits are promising, and the mechanisms behind them are plausible.

In The Wild

This intervention has precedence, and exists, or has at one time or another, existed in the wild.


Peer Reviewed


Altmetric score

April 13, 2016

Social Clicks: What and Who Gets Read on Twitter?

Maksym Gabielkov, Arthi Ramachandran, Augustin Chaintreau, Arnaud Legout

Link or Digital Object Identifier (DOI)


Supplemental materials



Observational Studies cover both descriptive and analytical studies. In both cases, researchers observe the effect of either a risk factor or intervention, without trying to change who is or isn't exposed to it. A descriptive study describes the patterns of a condition or issue in relation to variables such as person, place, and time. They are often the first step or initial inquiry into a new topic, event, disease or condition. Analytic studies are undertaken to test specific hypotheses, often those arising from descriptive studies. Samples of subjects are identified and information about exposure, status, and outcome, is collected. The essence of an analytic study is that groups of subjects are compared in order to estimate the magnitude of association between exposures to a stimulus, and outcomes.

There's more to learn about this intervention. Want to help?

Do you think this intervention could have more benefits, unacknowledged drawbacks, or other inaccuracies that we've neglected to mention here?

We always welcome more evidence and rigorous research to back up, debunk, or augment what we know.

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Further Reading

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