WhatsApp users attempting to send Twitter links to friends on Tuesday had a different experience than usual.
Tweets previews, which before had been a standard feature, are no longer showing on messaging app WhatsApp. App owner Facebook blamed a glitch in Twitter’s API.
Previews of websites and non-Twitter links are still appearing, with the disappearing previews only affecting those from Twitter. WhatsApp parent company Facebook says the error was due to a problem with Twitter’s API.
“The links people send on WhatsApp are protected by end-to-end encryption,” a WhatsApp spokesperson told Digital Trends. “We rely on Twitter’s API to display a preview of tweets people want to send. It appears there is currently a technical issue with the preview feature, and we’re hoping Twitter will be able to restore it as soon as possible.”
Digital Trends reached out to Twitter for comment on the issue. We will update this story when we heard back.
While the timing of the disappearing Twitter previews has raised suspicions from some users given the ongoing civil unrest throughout America, WhatsApp categorically denied the problem was deliberate, saying “any suggestion that WhatsApp is limiting the links people share is entirely false.”
this is concerning.
WhatsApp had suddenly stopped displaying a tweet preview when you share its URL. myself & my network have been sharing resources like this (on the ground, from twitter) non-stop this week — why the sudden blackout @WhatsApp? today vs. yday ???? pic.twitter.com/CyMKc5FpHM
— Alice Ophelia (@iamaliceophelia) June 2, 2020
Facebook and Twitter have been on opposite sides of the debate around moderation on social media lately.
Twitter began labeling some of Donald Trump’s messages for allegedly glorifying violence and misinformation, but Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg has said his company will leave Trump’s statements unmoderated. That stance has caused an increasingly public revolt among Facebook employees, some of whom staged a virtual walk out of the company Monday to support demonstrators protesting the death of George Floyd, an unarmed black man killed by police in Minnesota.
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