The question of whether Twitter can keep its strong-hold on fast news and government communications is looming.
Between the Associated Press hack, the fake Boston bomber accounts, and the less than tactful tweets by some politicians, Twitter is proving that the speed at which it spreads information that made it so popular could be its downfall.
There is also the issue of security, and with Twitter working more on urging account-holders to do their own security checks more than securing the site itself, it’s not looking hopeful.
However, there may be a handy tool that could become standard fare in the future. Retwact.
Retwact, short for Retweet Retract, is an independent program build by Stonly Baptise, a software developer by trade and by hobby. It is designed to do a mass removal of inaccurate, embarrassing, or harmful retweets. Here’s a list of potential upsides and downsides.
1. After choosing the original tweet that is the source of the retweets, it sends an @-mention to the first 100 people who retweeted it including the original tweet as well as the corrected one.
2. You can include a message, apology, explanation to be sent with the retweets
3. The Retwact retweet can then be retweeted once it has been seen by those 100 people and their followers (the positive side of fast dissemination).
4. It can correct any false news tweets, such as the one from the Associated Press that resulted from the hack, and quickly correct it before misinformation or panic spreads.
5. It can save some embarrassment public figures that had an inappropriate tweet go viral
6. Can potentially be used to cancel an event making sure it reaches a large amount of people directly instead of only making a new tweet about the cancellation.
1. It’s independent of Twitter, which can make things complicated. There is hope of some sort of merger in the future, at least on Baptise’s side.
2. The program only allows retraction for tweets posted minutes, not hours or days, prior. If the account sends out frequent tweets, it can make things difficult, or even render the software useless.
3. The software cannot detects retweets that were posted outside of Twitter’s designed retweeting feature, such as “Look at this RT @GovLoop: ‘Check out our blogs!’”.
4. Right now the software cannot be used in it’s entirety. According to Twitter’s rules, you cant send the same message to too many people at once… which is the purpose of this program. So right now the account, @Retwact, is down (as of May 1st). That said, you can still use it to delete the original retweet.
So the future of both Twitter and Retwaction is unclear. However, the ideas are there and people are trying to address the downfalls of social media in order to make it as usable in a real-world, professional setting. Retwaction’s developer is even considering making it an open-source project, so hobbyist software developers keep an eye out!
Do you think Twitter can still be reliable for sharing important information?
What other issues have you encountered with social media in a professional setting?
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