Twitter is getting rid of the share counts in its sharing buttons, affecting publishers including The Huffington Post and Entertainment Weekly in addition to Slate that used to show that count on its article pages.
Twitter revealed the change in a blog post 6 Oct and since then, the numbers have been disappearing from its social share buttons that often sit atop a story alongside ones from Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn and other sharing platforms. The move affects total share counts, even if they’re not broken down by share button, leading to grousing from publishers, who say the data was important not only as an internal guidepost of what content is performing well but as a way to promote content with readers by showcasing its popularity.
“We want that count back,” said Check. “It’s meaningful to us. Having share counts along comment counts is a strong way to underline that there’s a conversation around what we’re written. We want to signal to readers that that conversation is happening.”
Twitter chalked up the move to technical reasons, saying it decided to discontinue the feature to speed up improvements in its technology and that the API that publishers were using to pull in the article shares count was an unofficial hack, anyway. Although conveniently, Twitter provides the data for a fee from its data service Gnip.
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