Can a developer striking out on his own solve the social network's big flaw?
Even worse than the pornbots and trolls, one of Twitter's enduring drawbacks is that there's no reliable way to issue corrections with the service. The flaw drew a truckload of attention in the wake of the Boston bombings as self-appointed detectives -- fueled by Reddit -- made all kinds of invalid allegations on social media. But the tragedy involving the Tsarnaev brothers is simply the most extreme case of what's a very ordinary problem. Virtually all reporting has become an iterative process, subject to revisions in real time as new knowledge becomes available.
Some journalists (including me) have called for Twitter to build a corrections function involving the same code it uses for retweets and favorites. So far, Twitter has given no indication that it plans to do so, which has led one independent developer to build his own solution. And until something more polished comes along, it's not a bad option.
The tool is called Retweet Retract -- or Retwact, for short. Built as a side project by Stonly Baptiste, a software developer at the Pennsylvania-based company independenceIT, Retwact tries to contain the damage (and shame) that comes along with spreading information that later turns out to be untrue.
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