Saturday, August 20, 2016

Twitter parody accounts need their own identifying symbol

Twitter has a lot of problems right now: from sluggish user growth to people using the online platform for harassment.
Twitter also is making changes to its micro-blogging service: from including more non-linear tweets in users’ feeds to not counting links and photos in its 140-character tweet limit.
Twitter users would like to see more changes, such as the ability to edit tweets once they’ve been posted.
I’ve got another suggestion: Twitter should have an identifying mark on parody accounts. This symbol would be much like the checkmark that appears next to user names on verified accounts.
Currently parody accounts must mention that they are parodies in the user description on their page. But if a tweet shows up in your Twitter feed, you wouldn’t know it’s a parody account unless you first check out the user’s Twitter page.
A symbol like a laughing mouth would be useful to helping people instantly recognize parody tweets.
Last week, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump criticized the New York Times for its reporting and First Amendment protections.
In a tweet, @realDonaldTrump said, “It is not ‘freedom of the press’ when newspapers and others are allowed to say and write whatever they want even if it is completely false!”
A parody account, @realDenaldTrump, which uses the same photo of Trump that he has on his Twitter page, followed up Trump’s rant with this tweet: “I’m not running against Crooked Hillary, Folks! I’m running against the 1st Amendment. VERY BAD! @realDonaldTrump.”
That sounded like Trump, who is no supporter of the free press.
I saw that tweet on my smartphone and retweeted it with my comment, “Unbelievable.”
I was quickly alerted to the fact that it was a parody account with a misspelled Donald. That was hard to see on my small smartphone screen.
A parody symbol would be a small but important improvement to the Twitter experience.

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