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Twitter testing ‘original tweeter’ label so you know who started a thread

Ever found yourself deep in a Twitter thread and wondering who actually started it? Or maybe you sometimes get confused by imitation accounts that try to take over the conversation.

Well, the microblogging service is currently testing an “original tweeter” label that shows up beneath the account name of the person who started the thread each time they post a new message to it.

The label instantly identifies who started the conversation, thereby avoiding any confusion in cases where famous folks have imitators with similar account names or profile pictures who also post to their threads.

It will also make it easier to spot messages from the original tweeter should you wish to scroll through the feed to quickly find their posts.


So, for example, say Elon Musk starts a conversation with a statement about whatever pops into his head that day — as he is wont to do — the “original tweeter” label will show up beneath any posts he adds to the conversation, making it easier for readers to distinguish his replies from tweets by accounts imitating the billionaire entrepreneur.

In many ways it’s a small change, but one that’s likely to be welcomed by users whose tweets tend to generate a lot of discussion on the service.

The company is currently testing the label with a select group of Twitter users on both iOS and Android, though a quick look at the originaltweeter hashtag shows it’s already gaining plenty of attention — and, of course, creating a few threads along the way.

Twitter’s director of product management, Sara Haider, confirmed the trial to TechCrunch on Thursday, January 24, saying: “Twitter’s purpose is to serve the public conversation. As part of this work, we’re exploring adding more context to discussions by highlighting relevant replies — like those from the original tweeter.”

Keep in mind that this is a test, so the feature might vanish into thin air, though we have a hunch it will land for all users in some form in the coming weeks.

News of this latest test comes a couple of days after the company announced it’s prepping a whole new look for Twitter on the web that’s expected to roll out to the Twitter community soon. Changes include shifting most of the account information off the main display and giving more space to the tweets, with “who to follow” and “trends for you” remaining on the right side of the display. A shortcut that makes it easier to add emojis to new tweets is also part of the update, and a button to skip between two different types of timeline is also incoming for Twitter on the web. Digital Trends has more information on the new look.

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Trevor Mogg
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