Technology

Twitter joins Instagram in copying TikTok’s reaction videos

Twitter has announced that it’s testing a feature called “quote tweet with reaction,” where you can embed a copy of a tweet into a photo or video instead of just replying to it with text.

Twitter says that the feature is currently being tested on iOS. If you have access to the feature, the retweet menu will have a “Quote Tweet with reaction” button. Tapping it will take you to a screen where you can take a photo or video to put the tweet on top of, or choose one from your camera roll. One of Twitter’s product leads did a reaction quote tweet to the announcement, which lets us see how the reactions will show up to users.

The feature is similar to TikTok’s video replies, which Instagram recently copied for its Reels feature. Twitter itself has also been adding new ways to share tweets — in December 2020, it added the ability to embed a tweet in a Snapchat message or story.

Some Twitter users, as well as staff members at The Verge, have expressed concern that these reaction quote tweets could be an easy vector for harassment. While it’s relatively easy for the platform to moderate regular quote tweets, it’s harder to programmatically scan the contents of a photo or video. Some of Twitter’s other features include mitigations like being able to opt out of photo tagging, or limiting who can reply to your tweets.

However, Twitter spokesperson Viviana Wiewall said in an email that “currently you won’t be able to turn off who can and can’t” use the feature on your tweets, as it inherits the standard quote tweet behavior. When asked if the feature being used for harassment was a concern, they replied:

The safety of people on Twitter is our priority and while we don’t anticipate this being used in a harmful fashion, we’ll be closely monitoring the usage of the product and ensure that any abuse is adjudicated as per the Twitter Rules.

The company also announced that it’s testing a new design that lets you starting writing a tweet from the main timeline view, instead of hitting a button that takes you to a compose screen.