Twitter tests new prompt to discourage users from taking screenshots of tweets

Twitter logo on a Pixel 4 XL
(Image credit: Joe Maring / Android Central)

Update (October 11, 9:20 am ET): Twitter has confirmed that it is testing a new pop-up message to dissuade users from taking screenshots of tweets.

What you need to know

  • Twitter is apparently experimenting with a new pop-up message telling users to reshare tweets.
  • The pop-up appears when you attempt to take a screenshot of a tweet.
  • It seems to be part of a wider effort to increase direct engagement for creators on the platform.

Twitter appears to be taking measures to dissuade users from taking screenshots of tweets and sharing them to other social media platforms, which could reduce traffic to the microblogging service.

In what appears to be a limited testing, Twitter is apparently showing pop-up messages asking users to share a tweet when the platform detects they're taking a screenshot. The message contains two buttons for sharing a tweet or copying the link to it, as spotted by app sleuth Jane Manchun Wong (opens in new tab) and social media consultant Matt Navarra (opens in new tab) (via TechCrunch (opens in new tab)).

It's not clear when the new pop-ups began showing up for some, but it's obviously Twitter's way of telling people to not share content in a manner that does not directly bring traffic to the service. At the moment, the testing is only visible on its iOS version, though an Android implementation is expected to follow suit.

Android Central has reached out to Twitter for comment and will update this post as soon as we receive a response.

Cross-posting from one platform to another is common among users, and nowhere is this more evident than on TikTok and Instagram. TikTok, at the very least, attempts to keep its brand visible on content shared across other sites by watermarking videos that were originally posted on the platform. In a bid to keep users glued to Instagram, Meta never stops introducing features that heavily borrow from TikTok.

The latest development suggests that Twitter is taking a slightly different approach to addressing cross-posting using screenshots. This behavior tends to undermine engagement for creators and diminishes traffic to Twitter. 

It only makes sense for Twitter to discourage screenshots since it's hard to make money from them. That said, here's hoping that Twitter doesn't block screenshot altogether.

Update

Twitter has told Android Central that it is currently experimenting with a prompt to persuade users to share a tweet or its link instead of taking screenshots.

"We want to make Tweets accessible to everyone, even when they leave our platform, and allow others an easy way back to the full conversation on Twitter," a Twitter spokesperson has confirmed. "We’re currently testing this new prompt with a small group of people on iOS to let them know there are other ways they can share Tweets with their friends."

Jay Bonggolto
News Writer

Jay Bonggolto always keeps a nose for news. He has been writing about consumer tech and apps for as long as he can remember, and he has used a variety of Android phones since falling in love with Jelly Bean. Send him a direct message via Twitter or LinkedIn.