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Developer Regrets Inventing Retweets

Paul Rubens - July 26, 2019 - 09:56 AM
Developer Regrets Inventing Retweets
Retweeting allows tweets to go viral and become a 'creeping horror story,' developer admits.

(CCM) — Twitter developer Chris Wetherell wishes that he and his team had never built the retweet button that has become a key part of the social network back in 2009.

In a recent interview, Wetherell likened the addition of the button to "handing a four-year-old a loaded weapon," according to a BBC report. But this was not his intention. Instead, he had hoped that the ability to retweet messages with a single button press "would elevate voices from under-represented communities."

Retweeting has been blamed for the spread of bullying, hate speech, and fake news, according to the report, as well as "Gamergate": a campaign of harassment against women working in the video games industry.

"It dawned on me that this was not some small subset of people acting aberrantly. This might be how people behave. And that scared me to death," Wetherell said in the report.

Previously it was only possible to retweet a message by going through the laborious process of copying text and typing RT and the name of the author of the original tweet. This acted as a natural dampener on peoples' desire to send out retweets.

Twitter founder Jack Dorsey admitted recently that the social network incentivized people to post "outrage."

Image: © Denys Prykhodov - Shutterstock.com
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