Facebook and Twitter Are Rethinking Their Share Buttons
Both companies added friction to their sharing process in recent months
Starting this week, Facebook will slow you down a bit when you go to share Covid-19 related photos and memes. When you hit the share button on these images, the company will show you the date they originally appeared, forcing you to consider whether you still want to pass them along.
Facebook’s new safeguard, and others like it, didn’t get much attention at the Senate’s content moderation hearing this week. Big Technology, in fact, is first reporting this latest update here. But giving people more information before they share is becoming increasingly popular inside social media companies — Facebook even has a name for it — “Informative Sharing” — and the practice will likely influence information quality on social platforms more than any measure the current content moderation debate covers.
“If people share a piece of misleading content, irrelevant content, outdated content, they feel really embarrassed and regretful,” Facebook product manager Anita Joseph told Big Technology. “We knew there was an opportunity there to put notification screens in and help people not have that bad experience anymore.”
In recent months, both Facebook and Twitter have added much needed friction to their share and retweet buttons. Facebook’s added notification screens making people pause, just for a moment, and consider some context before they share Covid-19 related posts and images (with the exception of posts from recognized global health organizations like the WHO), and outdated articles as well. Twitter is asking people if they actually want to retweet posts with links they haven’t clicked, and it’s temporarily adding a step that puts people in the quote tweet screen before they can natively retweet.
Adding this type of friction will help restore some of the thoughtfulness involved in sharing information, which the retweet and share have diminished. When people use these buttons, they pass along information in an instant, often without a second thought, and regularly share posts that confirm their biases, whether or not the information is true. When people stop and think before…