Twitter really doesn’t want you to screenshot tweets to share

Reduce content sharing to improve traffic

Cross-posting content on social media is something of a modern nuisance. If you have accounts on most popular platforms, you will see viral trends increase and reappear on those.t. YouTube recently took steps to discourage cross-posting on TikTok and Instagram. Now Twitter appears to be tracking, prompting users to hit the share button on tweets when it detects them taking screenshots.


Tweet screenshots are shared on Reddit, Instagram, and pretty much everywhere else. Twitter has started showing pop-ups to suggest alternative in-app actions people could take when trying to take a screenshot. TechCrunch shares several pop-up reports with buttons to copy a link to the tweet, share the tweet, or both. So far, we’ve only seen them on the iOS version of the app, but testing may extend to Android. App analyst Jane Manchun Wong and social media consultant Matt Navarra give us some insight into how some of these prompts appear:

Sharing tweets as screenshots skews creators’ engagement metrics on Twitter, misrepresenting the actual number of people their content reaches. Twitter presumably got interested because it can’t monetize screenshot views once they end up on another social media platform.

We’ll admit Twitter has some credit for using a pop-up to discourage this behavior, instead of just trying to block screenshots altogether. Some loyal Twitter users suggest that a sweet spot would be to watermark app screenshots just like TikTok watermark videos. This may not solve the underlying problem with Twitter, but at least it would remind the viewer where this content is coming from.

WhatsApp has also rolled out a screenshot block for single-view media, but that’s for privacy more than anything else. It’s unclear where Twitter might ultimately go with this, but it seems like an A/B test for now.