What It Is
When a user attempts to "share" or "retweet" or equivalent the platform 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 the user hasn't, then the platform does not allow them to share the link, and may offer a popup or dialogue to share why.
When To Use It
Whenever a user is about to share a link on an app or platform without having opened the link, the platform can offer this guidance.
What Is Its Intended Impact
The intention is to encourage people to think about the content they are sharing and increase the likelihood for them to decide not to share things that look questionable with further examination (e.g., headlines that aren't actually backed up by the content of the article). Since misinformation is easier to identify by reading a full article than just by reading a snippet or headline, this intervention could cut down on the sharing of misinformation.
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
There is evidence that sharing unopened links, and therefore unread content, is pervasive.
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.
Is this intervention missing something?
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