Elon Musk’s Twitter may no longer show which device a tweet was sent from

Amidst his endless spitting out of new features for the social media network he has reluctantly bought, CEO Elon Musk has announced plans for Twitter to no longer show which device a tweet was sent from, whether it’s an iPhone, phone Android or Twitter web client. “We will finally stop adding on which device a tweet was written”, Musk tweetedadding that he thinks the feature is a “waste of screen space and computation.”

“Literally no one even knows why we did it,” he added.

Okay, so three things. First of all: who knows if this change will really happen. Musk’s acquisition of Twitter was chaotic to say the least, and the launch of Tesla CEO’s newest high-profile feature, paid verification, had to be suspended in the face of massive problems. When it comes to changes made to Twitter under Musk’s leadership, you can’t really be certain that a new feature will roll out until it actually rolls out.

Second: there are many legitimate reasons “why we did it”. Inventor of the hashtag Chris Messina argues that showing which device sent a tweet was a good way to provide visibility to formerly third-party Twitter clients like Tweetie and TweetDeck, and provides a “status indicator” to show whether a tweet was sent from desktop or mobile. And former CEO and co-founder of Twitter, Jack Dorsey, agrees. In response, he simply replied that Messina was “correct.”

But third, and perhaps most importantly, Twitter’s ability to show what type of device sent a tweet is a fun feature.

Mostly, it must be said, it was because of some good old-fashioned messes when social media managers for various non-Apple phone brands were caught tweeting from iPhones (often by the head of the “Twitter police, YouTuber Marques Brownlee). A Microsoft executive was caught cheating on Windows Phone with an iPhone not once but twice. What better way to promote a Google Pixel phone and stick it to Tim Cook than by tweeting the Apple CEO from one of his company’s phones? Or why not express your love for Samsung’s new Note 3 using an iPhone?

Android smartphone maker Huawei has found itself at the center of two high-profile “Twitter for iPhone” mishap. First Time Brand Ambassador Gal Gadot Caught Tweeting About Her How She Loved Her Her New Huawei Mate 10 Pro from an iPhone. But don’t worry everyone, he was quick to assure Gadot CNET that he actually “loves my Huawei P20 and Mate10Pro” but that a member of his advertising team had posted the promotional tweet from their iPhone.

Having a little fun at the expense of a famous celebrity is one thing (just imagine), but I have to admit that I felt a little more sympathy for Huawei’s external PR team when Reuters reported that the company had demoted two employees and reduced their pay by the equivalent of more than $700 a month for sending the company’s “Happy New Year” tweet from an iPhone.

But perhaps the best comedic use of Twitter’s device indicator feature of all time came from an account simply named “Dorothy” who, in 2019, claimed to have tweeted from a smart refrigerator after her mother confiscated all of her electronic devices. “I don’t know if this will tweet I’m talking to my fridge what the heck my mom confiscated all my electronics again,” Dorothy tweeted. Sure enough, a little note below the (since-deleted) tweet suggested it was sent by “LG Smart Refrigerator.”

Other tweets from “Dorothy” also contained notes claiming to have been sent from Nintendo’s 3DS handheld and Wii U console. “I’m gone forever. My mother took my phone. I will miss you all sm. I’m crying. Goodbye,” she supposedly tweeted via the Nintendo 3DS Image Share feature.

a:hover]:text-black [&>a]:shadow-underline-gray-63 [&>a:hover]:shadow-underline-black text-gray-63″>Screen of BuzzFeed News

How buzz feed later reported, the crash was almost certainly faked. It’s relatively easy to manually tell Twitter which device you want it to show your tweets from. The social network also didn’t offer an app for LG smart fridges, and while it was technically possible to send a tweet through a smart device’s built-in web browser, these tweets would likely have the label “Twitter Web App” rather than anything specific to the device.

But look, comedy doesn’t have to be real to be funny. The idea of a teenager so determined to tweet that he resorts to using Nintendo consoles and a refrigerator is quite amusing, and it’s a nice creative touch to have the punchline of each post provided by Twitter’s seemingly unbiased interface.

I’m not sure I accept Musk’s reasoning for getting rid of the feature (which, you’ll recall, is that it’s a “waste of screen real estate and computation”). His changes to Twitter’s verification marks have already required adding an entirely new “official” designation to every single tweet from select accounts, which seems like a much bigger waste of screen real estate, and Twitter engineers lined up to loudly criticize Musk’s understanding of Twitter’s performance issues that presumably prompted the feature’s removal.

Yes, there are so many times you can laugh at an Android brand account for tweeting from an iPhone. But at some point, Musk’s willingness to turn Twitter upside down threatens to abandon the little features that made everyone’s favorite hellish site an occasionally fun place to hang out.

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