Developer Regrets Thinking of Retweet Button for Twitter
Developer Chris Wetherell built the retweet button on Twitter. In an interview, he says he is sorry. “It is as if we have given a loaded weapon to a four-year-old,” says Wetherell.
Entering a button to retweet a message with one push made it easy to share information effectively. “It did a lot of what we had come up with,” says Wetherell.
But the button has led to problems after the introduction, the inventor says. For example, users would think less about what they share because the threshold to retweet a message has been lowered.
Wetherell says that it was only in 2014 that it was realized that the button is a major problem. Then many users made and shared sexist comments about people in the game industry. “It was very easy to cause reputation damage to unknown people,” says Wetherell.
“Retweeting incorrect information helped create a false image of the targets. That happened faster than they could defend themselves. And we had no answer to that.”
The retweet button was redesigned later. Users can now send retweets with their own message. Director Jack Dorsey says that this may cause users to think better before sharing.
The former Twitter CEO Jason Goldman calls quoting a retweet a big problem. “This mechanism allows users to escalate a message and complete it completely.”