Twitter has spent years trying to combat misinformation and abuse on its platform. Now it’s introducing a new feature with the potential to complicate that effort: audio tweets.
On Wednesday, the company said it’s allowing a “limited group” of iOS users to create tweets with their voice. In the coming weeks, all iOS users should have access to voice tweets.
The feature comes after the launch of a buzzy, invite-only app called Clubhouse, which encourages users to spontaneously drop into voice chat rooms. But it also potentially opens the door to new forms of abuse, whether it be verbal harassment or spreading hateful content via audio that could be harder to detect initially than text.
When asked how the company would handle any abuse of the feature, a Twitter (TWTR) spokesperson said it’s working to incorporate additional monitoring systems ahead of rolling voice tweets out more broadly. The spokesperson also said it would review any reported voice tweets in line with its rules and take action.
Twitter also said users won’t be able to use audio to reply to tweets.
Creating a voice tweet is similar to regular tweeting, but users tap a new icon with wavelengths on it to record. Voice tweets are limited to chunks of 140 seconds – an apparent nod to Twitter’s original character limit – but users can keep recording and it’ll automatically create a thread.
Some users were quick to point out its inaccessible for some people, such as those with hearing issues. (Twitter made no mention of adding a transcription option.)
Twitter said it hopes voice tweets will add a “more human touch” to the platform, and noted that sometimes 280 characters aren’t enough to convey a message.
“There’s a lot that can be left unsaid or uninterpreted using text, so we hope voice Tweeting will create a more human experience for listeners and storytellers alike,” Twitter wrote in a blog post.
Donie O’Sullivan contributed to this report