Twitter quietly introduced a re-design to embedded tweets so that they no longer show many times a post has been re-tweeted.
The change was rolled out globally on Tuesday and now, instead, embedded posts show how many ‘people are talking about’ a tweet, using a metric that combines both replies and retweets.
The new design caters for non-Twitter users who regularly interact with tweets.
Embedded tweets on news stories and other sites no longer show how many times a post has been retweeted, according to Slate, which first spotted the change.
More than 1 billion people see embedded tweets every month, but not every one of them has a Twitter account.
For example, if someone who doesn’t use Twitter stumbles across a post that’s gotten 10,000 retweets, they may not understand what a retweet is.
INDICATOR OF POPULARITY
The tech giant hasn’t publicly acknowledged the change, but Twitter users began noticing the updates.
By being less specific about the how much tweets embedded around the internet are shared, Twitter is in a way downgrading the importance of retweets as an overall indicator of a popularity.
It’s also a move that could help counteract the social network’s massive bot infestation; bots are automated accounts that use software to act on their own to tweet, follow, and retweet others.
With this latest move, beating back bots probably isn’t the main motivation. It’s likely the idea is simply to use less language that only people who already use Twitter would understand.
But even so, removing the retweet count on embedded tweets that end up in news stories and replacing it with a broader metric does take away some of the bots’ raison d’etre —at least until they figure out how to game this measurement, too.