Reduce content re-sharing to improve traffic
Cross-posting content on social media is something of a modern nuisance. If you have accounts on most of the popular platforms, you will see the viral trends increase and reappear. YouTube has recently taken steps to discourage cross-posting to TikTok and Instagram. Now Twitter seems to be following and prompting users to hit the share button on tweets when it detects them taking screenshots.
Screenshots of tweets are shared on Reddit, Instagram, and pretty much everywhere else. Twitter has started showing popups to suggest alternative, in-app actions people can take when they try to take a screenshot. TechCrunch shares multiple reports of popups with buttons to copy a link to the tweet, share the tweet, or both. So far we’ve only seen these in the iOS version of the app, but it’s possible that testing will be extended to Android. App analyst Jane Manchun Wong and social media consultant Matt Navarra give us a look at how some of these prompts appear:
Sharing tweets as screenshots skews the engagement stats for creators on Twitter, misrepresenting the true number of people reaching their content. Twitter is probably interested in itself because it can’t monetize viewing screenshots once they’ve landed on another social media platform.
We’ll admit that Twitter deserves credit for using a popup to discourage this behavior, rather than just trying to block screenshots altogether. Some loyal Twitter users suggest that an ideal middle ground would be to watermark app screenshots, just like TikTok watermark videos. That might not solve the underlying problem for Twitter, but it would at least remind the viewer where that content came from.
WhatsApp has also rolled out a screenshot block for once viewed media, but that’s mostly for privacy. There’s no telling where Twitter will end up with this, but it seems to be an A/B test for now.