Twitter announced that they are currently testing a new version of TweetDeck with a limited number of people. The testing is invitation-only, and those who choose to participate are agreeing to provide feedback. For now, Twitter is limiting the preview version of TweetDeck to selected people in US, Canada, and Australia.
As someone who uses TweetDeck on desktop, and who strongly prefers it to the Twitter interface, I have some concerns. I don’t want to lose the features that the current TweetDeck provides that aren’t available on Twitter. There also appears to be a rumor that Twitter is considering charging for TweetDeck in the future. The rumor is unconfirmed, but it still makes me nervous.
Twitter posted information about how the preview version of TweetDeck is different from Twitter.com. Right now, new features include:
- Tweet composer lets you create threads and add photos, videos, GIFs, polls, or emojis to your Tweets, including scheduled Tweets.
- Advanced search helps you find the content you’re looking for.
- Tweet order gives you the option to view top Tweets or latest Tweets first in columns.
- Decks let you organize your columns into groups for cleaner workspaces.
- Access new column types like profile, topics, explore, events, moments, and bookmarks.
TechCrunch reported that the test of the redesigned TweetDeck includes a large list of column types, However, it appears that columns like Activity, Followers, Likes, and Outbox have been removed.
Overall, I’m going to take a wait and see attitude towards the test of a redesigned TweetDeck. I’m happy with how it works now. There is a reason people use the saying “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”
Twitter has appointed a resident grievance officer in India days after Twitter lost the liability protections on user-generated content in the South Asian nation over non-compliance with India’s IT rules, TechCrunch reported.
Previously, India’s IT Minister made a statement that he has chosen to disregard Section 230 of the Communications Act, which protects social media companies from being held liable for things that users post. This could be a big problem not only for Twitter, but also for other social media companies who are based in the United States and have offices in other countries.
TechCrunch reported that India’s new IT rules were unveiled in February of this year and went into effect in late May. Twitter has also published a compliance report, which is another requirement listed in India’s new rules.
Twitter posted a Transparency Report about User Grievances & Proactive Monitoring. This report is in regards to how Twitter processes grievances from users in India.
In India, Twitter users can report grievances via the Grievance mechanism by using the contact details available on the Grievance Officer – India page. Twitter does not require such reporters to be registered with Twitter, or have a Twitter user ID in order to file a grievance. Separately, global users can report directly from the Tweet or account in question while logged into Twitter, or reports can be made via Twitter’s Help Center.
Twitter also posted information about their new Grievance Officers. It includes contact information for United States Grievance Officer Jeremy Kessel. It also includes contact information for Resident Grievance Officer Vinay Prakash, who is in India.
I find it interesting that Twitter India will accept grievance reports from people who do not have a Twitter account. How would a person without an account see anything on Twitter – including something they want to report? I can see where this could be used for brigading.
Twitter has lots its liability protection against user-generated content in India, TechCrunch reported. This happened after India’s government passed a law that required social media companies (such as Facebook, Twitter, Google, and Netflix) to acknowledge takedown requests of unlawful, misinformation, and violent content within 24 hours and deliver a complete redressal in 15 days.
In a court filing on Monday, New Delhi said Twitter lost its immunity in India after the American social network failed to comply with the new local IT rules, which were unveiled in February and went into effect in late May.
According to Reuters, the court filing came in a case filed by a Twitter user who wanted to complain about some allegedly defamatory tweets on the platform, and said the company was not complying with the new law that requires appointment of certain new executives.
The Verge reported that in the United States, social media companies are generally not held liable for their users’ posts. This is due to Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act.
India’s IT Minister appears to have disregarded the United States’s Section 230. In a press conference, he said: “…The issue is the misuse of social media. Some of them say we are bound by American laws. You operate in India, make good money, but you will take the position that you’ll be governed by American laws. This is plainly not acceptable.”
My concern is that, if India’s courts decide that India’s IT Minister is right, Twitter is going to have to make some tough decisions regarding its users who are in India.
There have been many Twitter users who want an edit button. Twitter does not seem to be interested in making one. Instead, Twitter confirmed to CNET that they are testing an “Undo Tweet” feature.
It appears that the first to discover the “Undo Tweet” feature is Jane Manchun Wong, who posted a tweet about it. She wrote: “Twitter is working on an app subscription for paid features like “Undo Tweet”. The tweet includes a screenshot that could be part of a form that a user could fill out to start a subscription.
What is the subscription for? The answer to the question is unclear. My best guess is that it has something to do with the Super Follow feature, which would allow users to access exclusive content from someone they want to follow. A person must pay money in order to Super Follow someone..
Jane Manchun Wong also posted a GIF of what looks like an “Undo” button that gives a user a very short amount of time in which to click it. Clicking “Undo” before the timer runs out appears to stop that tweet from posting live. No one will see it other than the user (and maybe someone who works for Twitter).
In my opinion, the “Undo Tweet” timer functions something like a “bad take” eraser. It could be really useful for brands that are about to post a snarky tweet that, on second thought, went too far. Politicians who have a bad habit of posting tweets that cause outrage could use the “Undo Tweet” feature to save themselves some problems.
The Verge reported that Twitter has not said if this feature will be limited to paying customers. I can see why Twitter would want to monetize the “Undo Tweet” feature as a way of generating revenue (along with the Super Follow and Revue features).
Providing it for free, for all users, would be a better way to go. It might persuade some people to actively think about what they are about to post, and give them the option to prevent the mean tweet from going live. I think the result could turn Twitter into a kinder, more introspective, social media platform.
As you may recall, when President Obama left office in 2017, Twitter transferred the @POTUS account to President Trump. According to Business Insider, the change enabled President Trump to inherit almost 14 million followers who originally followed the @POTUS account when it belonged to President Obama.
That’s not going to happen when President-elect Joe Biden becomes President. Rob Flaherty, Digital Director for Joe Biden tweeted: “In 2016, the Trump admin absorbed all of President Obama’s Twitter followers on @POTUS and @WhiteHouse – at Team 44’s urging. In 2020, Twitter has informed us that as of right now the Biden administration will have to start from zero.”
The Biden transition team told Business Insider that the @POTUS, @FLOTUS, and @PressSec accounts will all start at zero followers. Twitter will send a one-time notification to users that follow @JoeBiden or @KamalaHarris to suggest they follow Biden’s transition team account, @transition46. That account will be rebranded as @whitehouse, according to the Biden team.
The Wall Street Journal reported that Twitter will reset those accounts’ passwords and share ownership with the National Archives and Records Administration.
The National Archives confirmed it will receive and archive content posted to those official accounts. The @POTUS account will be renamed @POTUS45 and will be frozen as-is on Twitter. Mr. Trump will maintain control of his personal @realDonaldTrump account post-presidency. When President Obama left office, the account handles were changed to @ObamaWhiteHouse and @POTUS44.
Overall, I think it is a good thing that Twitter will have the Twitter accounts of the Biden Administration start at zero. I remember feeling confused and frustrated when @POTUS shifted from President Obama to the Trump Administration. I chose to follow @POTUS when Obama was president, and didn’t understand that it would automatically shift to President Trump. In my opinion, the current followers of @POTUS will likely be very loud and angry if @POTUS shifted over to Joe Biden after he is inaugurated.
Starting the accounts of the incoming administration at zero could help prevent unnecessary harassment from Trump’s grumpiest supporters. It would also give people the opportunity to chose whether or not they want to follow the Twitter accounts connected to the Biden Administration. Having that option would likely make for better, healthier, conversation about whatever those accounts tweet.
Periscope announced that they have made the difficult decision to discontinue Periscope as a mobile app by March 2021. Periscope has provided information about how to download an archive of your Periscope broadcasts and data before the app is removed. No one will be able to make a new Periscope account in-app starting with the next release.
…The truth is that the Periscope app is in an unsustainable maintenance-mode state, and has been for a while. Over the past couple of years, we’ve seen declining usage and know that the cost to support the app will only continue to grow over time. Leaving it in its current state isn’t doing right by the current and former Periscope community or by Twitter…
Periscope also wrote: “We probably would have made this decision sooner if it weren’t for all of the projects reprioritized due to the events of 2020. We’re sharing our decision with you now because we want to be transparent and honest about where we’re at and what’s next.”
Twitter posted Periscope FAQs that Periscope users may want to read. Twitter wrote: “Given our previous work integrating core parts of Periscope into the service, this move will allow us to further strengthen our live video creation natively in Twitter.” Twitter recommends that you use your remaining coins to send Super Hearts to your favorite broadcasters by March 31, 2021.
Engadget reported that any broadcasts you shared through Twitter will live on as replays. The Periscope website will stay up as a read-only archive of videos people broadcast publicly.
Twitter has a history of killing off apps after integrating them into Twitter’s platform. Twitter shut down Vine in 2016. In 2018, it killed Tweetbot, Twitterific, Talon, and Tweetings by removing access to APIs needed to power push notifications and auto-refreshing a timeline. It looks like Periscope had issues related to the events of 2020, and is not specifically being killed off by Twitter.
Squad, a screen-sharing social app, announced that is has been acquired by Twitter. As part of the acquisition, Squad will shut down the Squad app on December 12, 2020.
Esther Crawford, CEO of Squad, posted about this on Medium:
I’m excited to announce that Twitter has acquired Squad! The team will be joining Twitter to broaden the spectrum of conversations people can have on the service. Specifically, we’ll be bringing our expertise in audio and video to the creation space – and are looking forward to building new formats that allow for fun, meaningful & engaging conversations.
Ilya Brown, Twitter’s VP of product, tweeted: “Excited to share that the @squad team is joining @Twitter to help us bring new ways for people to interact, express themselves, and join in the public conversation.”
TechCrunch reported that Squad’s co-founders, CEO Ester Crawford and CTO Ethan Sutin, and the rest of the team will be coming aboard inside Twitter’s design, engineering, and art departments.
According to TechCrunch, the actual Squad app itself is not coming aboard Twitter. The Squad app allowed users to share their screens on mobile or desktop and simultaneously video chat, a feature that aimed to find the friend use case in screen-sharing beyond the enterprise use case of presenting.
The question now is: What will happen to Periscope? The Squad app is shutting down as of December 12, 2020, shortly after Twitter acquired it. Twitter shut down Vine four years after acquiring it. Periscope was acquired by Twitter in 2015 and has some functions that might be similar to what Squad offers. I guess we will have to wait and see what Periscope’s fate will be.