The United States is living a terrible week, with a multitude of protests across the country after the murder of George Floyd. Today the Blackout tuesday, where various platforms are putting black photos and others like Spotify have implemented an 8-minute and 46-second silence, the time the police officer was pressing on Floyd’s neck until he sadly passed away. Now, it seems that WhatsApp, despite having shown solidarity with the #BlackOutTuesday, you are introducing some censorship.
Twitter has been filled with complaints in the last few hours after WhatsApp reportedly has disabled thumbnails of links to tweets shared through the messaging application. Until yesterday, a photo of the preview and the content of the tweet was displayed, but now when we copy the link nothing is displayed.
this is concerning.
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
– Alice Ophelia (@iamaliceophelia) June 2, 2020
This may have a double reading. First, they may have done it to prevent the spread of false informationBecause when a tweet is deleted, the thumbnail and its content continue to appear in the chat application because the content has been previously loaded.
For the past three days, the extreme right has been creating fake accounts posing as the left or the Antifa movement to create fear in society. For example, the @Antifa_US account, which was created on May 31, began to be retweeted by members of the extreme right with a tweet that encouraged “to attack white residential neighborhoods.” The account had 200 followers and was closed yesterday, but if someone shared the tweet on WhatsApp, it continues to appear. And the photo of the tweet continues to be shared all over the network unfortunately.
The rest of the links do continue to load correctly
Another reason may be directly because they are trying to ease the load on their servers, or simply because they are imposing censorship against Twitter, since the thumbnails of other links and websites do seem to work correctly. For the preview to appear, it is necessary to leave the link for a couple of seconds in the text input box, and from there it already loads the thumbnail, but as we say with tweets, it never gets loaded.
At the moment, the alternative to WhatsApp, as always, is Telegram, which continues to show the tweets without any problem in full, and also allows you to preview the images without having to click the link. The WhatsApp preview system has a lot to improve to reach the level of what Telegram currently offers, and with this step back it only worsens the user experience.