Retwact – Retweet Retract keeps the meme clean

One thing about Twitter is pretty obvious: once you’ve said something, even if it’s factually incorrect and you find that out later, that something has been said and going back to everyone who retweeted it to fix the mistake is almost impossible.  At least, it was almost impossible.  Now, not so much.

Retwact is a new service that aims to make up for Twitter’s most glaring problem by giving users a way to re-tweet their own retractions or edits, alerting those who’ve retweeted their original statement to send the new information to keep the thread clean.  It can’t force anyone to do this, of course, but it at least keeps your name generally clear and shows that you cared enough about the mistake to try to amend it.

Retwact (Retweet Retract) is a side project of Stonly Baptiste at independenceIT.  The app tracks your five latest tweets that have been retweeted and lets you choose the offending tweet and edit it.  You can also add a Retwact-only apology attachment that other users of Retwact will also be able to read.  Once you’ve completed your edits, you can send it out and Retwact will publish it on your own timeline as a correction and then send the notice of retraction (via the Retwact account) to the @s of the first 100 people who retweeted your earlier (problem) post, alerting them to the change.

So far, the tool is a little limited because of its fast launch window (it was made as a sort of counter to the huge amounts of misinformation being sent out regarding the Boston Marathon bombings) and the fact that Baptiste is coding it solo.  It’s functional as-is, though, and he says he’s still working on improvements.  An addition he’s working on, for example, will give the option of deleting the original, offending tweet from your timeline entirely so that it is only kept as part of the corrected version, preventing it from being sourced by others or re-sent.

Currently (as of this writing), the Rewact account has been suspended on Twitter – flagged for spamming – and so the retweet to the 100 latest retweeters isn’t working.  This is being discussed with Twitter, say various blog sources.

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