Technical challenges related to sharing information are becoming frequent across online platforms.
Twitter has resolved an API issue that occurred on Tuesday, which saw links shared on WhatsApp not rendered correctly.
In what appeared to be a glitch, WhatsApp stopped displaying the preview function when a user shares a Tweet’s URL within a chat.
Link previews offer a brief summary of the content shared in the form of an expanded card when a Twitter link is shared on WhatsApp.
WhatsApp users who experienced problems sharing Tweets via the platform took to Twitter to voice their concerns.
In a bid to parse what might have been behind the interruption, one tweet said:
Seems like twitter links are no longer expanded on WhatsApp.— Juan Ortiz Freuler (@juanof9) June 2, 2020
I’m betting it will reduce click through rates.
A) a temporary reaction to reduce the amplification of disinfo currently rampant on Twitter.
B) Retaliation on Twitter as part of MZ/JD feud.
Another registered their concern alongside evidence of others who were experiencing the same problem.
this is concerning.— Alice Ophelia (@iamaliceophelia) June 2, 2020
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
That tweet then prompted responses from both WhatsApp and Twitter.
Will Cathcart, head of WhatsApp at Facebook, answered the user’s complaint in the same thread, offering an explanation for why Twitter link previews on WhatsApp were not working.
“To protect the privacy of your messages, we secure links people send with end-to-end encryption. For links to tweets we rely on Twitter’s API to display previews, and it appears there is a technical issue with that,” Cathcart tweeted.
Laura Burkhauser, Twitter’s Senior Product Manager, also swiftly replied and would then confirm that the issue was resolved.
This issue should now be fixed. Thank you for your patience!— Laura Burkhauser (@burkenstocks) June 2, 2020
Amid the protests that have broken out across the US, social media has once again become an important tool for people sharing information on what occurs on the ground.
Given the role of messaging services like WhatsApp in sharing news with large groups, a technical lapse like the one experienced on Twitter was a cause for concern.
There’s been a worrying trend of technical difficulties that have surfaced recently across social media platforms.
Twitter has also seen challenges arise with its Trends listings.
We had some technical difficulties with Trends earlier, but they're fixed now! You should be able to see Trends for your selected location in your Explore tab.— Twitter Support (@TwitterSupport) June 2, 2020
Meanwhile, Instagram has faced technical problems with the use of #BlackLivesMatter, triggering anti-spam filters that limited posts related to the hashtag.
1/ We're aware that some people are incorrectly running into "action blocked" messages when using the hashtag #blacklivesmatter, or resharing related posts. We have technology that detects rapidly increasing activity on Instagram to help combat spam.— Instagram Comms (@InstagramComms) June 1, 2020
TikTok experienced recent backlash after a viral tweet claimed that the platform had “blocked the #BlackLivesMatter tag and every single tag related to George Floyd,” effectively accusing TikTok of erasing socially-charged conversations.
Some decided to call it out for racism:
With the acceleration of activity around hashtags, along with spammers attempting to hijack hashtags, it appears that social media companies will continue to face a myriad of technical challenges in increasingly socially-charged times.