Twitter is testing a way to make it easier to spot the person who started a thread. A small percentage of iOS and Android users are seeing an "original tweeter" label. The company said earlier this month that it would publicly test some context and organization features.
aw thanks Twitter I appreciate you calling me an "Original Tweeter"
(seriously though what is that?) pic.twitter.com/IBpqcOIBYK
— Chuck Wendig (@ChuckWendig) January 24, 2019
original tweeter, do not steal pic.twitter.com/DhHG8umyss
— Alissa McAloon (@Gliitchy) January 24, 2019
It's a useful feature, and it could reduce some types of abuse, particularly if the original tweeter is, say, Bill Gates and the replies include those from scammy imitation accounts. The label, along with the blue verified checkmark, could make it more immediately obvious when Gates himself is replying, and not, for instance, @Bi11Gates.
Twitter confirmed the scope of the test to TechCrunch, with director of product management Sara Haider noting "we're exploring adding more context to discussions by highlighting relevant replies -– like those from the original Tweeter." Along these lines, a recent test included algorithmically sorted responses and nested, color-coded replies.
The tag is perhaps not the most elegant way to denote the first person to tweet in a thread, though -- some have described it as "ugly and distracting." Reddit, for instance, simply uses a microphone icon to identify a thread's original poster in the comments. Still, this latest test ties into CEO Jack Dorsey's aim to "increase the health of public conversation" on Twitter.