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Twitter quietly tests 'share' replacement for 'retweet'

Several users were unhappy to find their "retweet" button replaced with an option to "share" tweets. So, was this just another experiment or a sign of things to come?

James Martin/CNET

Twitter's iconic "retweet" function was quietly, and only briefly, replaced with a "share" button this week

The feature was noticed on Wednesday by CNBC's Eli Langer and was also shown in several images that cropped up on social network. The familiar retweet button was replaced with a "share" function that gave users the option to either share a tweet with others or add a comment before sharing the item. The feature was discovered on the Twitter iOS app.

The test appeared to prompt outrage among some affected users who balked at the idea of losing the retweet in favor of a share function. Not long after, however, the test was over and retweeting was back to normal.

Twitter is no stranger to experimentation. Back in September, Twitter said in a blog post that it's constantly experimenting with new features, and in many cases, those functions never go beyond the stage of experimentation.

"It's rare for a day to go by when we're not releasing at least one experiment," wrote Alex Roetter, Twitter's vice president of engineering, at the time.

So, was the retweet replacement an experiment or a sign of things to come?

Twitter declined CNET's request for comment on the test, but the company has been clear in the past that it wants to maintain its uniqueness in the social space and not try to follow Facebook's lead. Since a share button would seemingly do that, it seems unlikely that Twitter would make that move.

Twitter shares are up 3.6 percent to $46.05 in trading on Thursday morning.

(Via The Next Web)