Twitter To Implement Official Retweet Option and Fight Fake Retweets

Filed as News on August 14, 2009 3:34 am

Twitter@ev announced today on the Twitter blog that the microblogging company works at implementing an Phase 1 of the official Retweet project. Although details haven’t been finalized yet, Evan Williams showed a sketch of the possible future integration, all while admitting that the users and the Twitter community basically decide what Twitter becomes.

Retweeting is a great example of Twitter teaching us what it wants to be. The open exchange of information can have a positive global impact and the more efficient dissemination of information across the entire Twitter ecosystem is something we very much want to support. That’s why we’re planning to formalize retweeting by officially adding it to our platform and Twitter.com.

Official Twitter Retweet Option preview sketch

From the sketch presented by @ev, and the explanation, it seems that Twitter plans to show all retweets in your stream, even if you don’t follow the people who retweeted. I for one can not say that I am looking forward to even more (RT) noise in my Twitter feed but am happy that the company plans to fight fake retweets.
The Retweet option will also officially be implemented in the Twitter API.

No official release date has been announced yet but the company plans to test the feature on a small scale before launching. Hopefully I am not among the testers unless I can turn retweets from people I do not follow off.

The company also posted mockups for the implementation to the the Twitter Dev Google Group. This looks a lot cleaner already than the sketch posted above.

Official Twitter Retweet implementation mockups

Is this Twitter trying to look like Facebook and ‘likes’?

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  1. By TrueSongMedia posted on August 14, 2009 at 4:59 am
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    No, I don’t think this is a case of Twitter trying to copy anyone. It’s pretty clear to me that retweeting is a community-made ‘feature’. It only makes sense that Twitter would incorporate it into the website and API.

    Nice post, by the way.

    Reply

  2. By Paul William Tenny posted on August 15, 2009 at 12:26 am
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    Although details haven’t been finalized yet, Evan Williams showed a sketch of the possible future integration, all while admitting that the users and the Twitter community basically decide what Twitter becomes.

    Sure, so long as it’s what Twitter wanted to do also. How can he say something that laughable in the face of the @reply tracking fiasco? Twitter clearly did what Twitter wanted to do, not the “community” wanted.

    Reply

  3. By Shaon posted on August 16, 2009 at 10:18 pm
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    Twitter… seems to me like simply waste of time

    Tested Software dowloads

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  4. By nomalab posted on August 17, 2009 at 12:18 am
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    Formalized retweeting sounds a bit… ummm… scary. The copy-paste nature of Twitter is exactly why I like it.

    I’m looking at the draft pic #3 (dialog “Retweet to your followers?”) and wondering if I get to edit the tweet before it’s sent (possibly adding a comment or something), or is it going to be sent down the wire right after hitting “Yes”.

    I also wonder if the good ole manual retweeting with RT will still be working. Guess I’ll need to take a peek at the conversating in the dev group.

    Reply

  5. By Franky B posted on August 17, 2009 at 1:23 am
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    @nomalab,

    I also wonder if the good ole manual retweeting with RT will still be working.
    If they would block this, wouldn’t that immediately start a ‘censorship’ debate?

    Reply

  6. By nomalab posted on August 17, 2009 at 6:16 am
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    @Franky B

    Sorry, I didn’t have my programmer hat on when I wrote my first comment. Now that’s fixed.

    If they would block this, wouldn’t that immediately start a ‘censorship’ debate?

    I cannot see them outright blocking tweets because it would, as you point out, start a censorship debate. Then again, if they are planning to start fighting fake retweets, something needs to be done to the “RT @username” and “via @username” tweets. If not, the problem remains.

    The Official Retweet Option solves the retweet verification problem: the original tweet is kept intact (see screenshot #4) and I’m guessing the ID number of it is kept as a reference, just as with @replies. Hash of the retweet matches hash of the original.

    The downside is that no comments / endorsements can be added to the original tweet and strange faces (people we are not following) will appear in our timeline, if someone we are following retweets. Biz says in Twitter blog: “Also, if you find my retweets annoying, then you’ll be able to turn them off.” That’s a good thing.

    This new feature is called Official Retweet Option. “Option” in my books means optional. So, the question remains: what will happen to the old RT retweets? If nothing, how are they going to verify RT retweets that can be modified by the retweeter?

    Reply

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