Twitter’s newest feature is reigniting the flame war between iOS and Android owners.
The U.S. social media company’s latest addition is a subtle piece of information that shows the client that each tweet is sent from. In doing so, the company now displays whether a user tweets from the web or mobile and, if they are on a phone, whether they used Twitter’s iOS or Android apps, or a third-party service.
The feature — which was quietly enabled on Twitter’s mobile clients earlier this month; it has long been part of the TweetDeck app — has received a mixed response from users since CEO Jack Dorsey spotlighted it.
Some are happy to have additional details to dig into for context, for example, whether a person is on mobile or using third-party apps, but others believe it is an unnecessary addition that is stoking the rivalry between iOS and Android fans.
Source information back in the tweets pic.twitter.com/q5Qp7U8oS2
— jack (@jack) December 20, 2018
Interestingly, the app detail isn’t actually new. Way back in 2012 — some six years ago — Twitter stripped out the information as part of a series of changes to unify users across devices, focus on service’s reading experience and push people to its official apps where it could maximize advertising reach.
That was a long time ago — so long that TechCrunch editor-in-chief Matthew Panzarino was still a reporter when he wrote about it; he and I were at another publication altogether — and much has changed at Twitter, which has grown massively in popularity to reach 330 million users.
Back in 2012, Twitter was trying to reign in the mass of third-party apps that were popular with users in order to centralize its advertising to get itself, and its finances, together before going public. Twitter’s IPO happened in 2013 and it did migrate most users to its own apps, but it did a terrible job handling developers and thus, today, there are precious few third-party apps. That’s still a sore point with many users, since the independent apps were traditionally superior with better design and more functions. Most are dead now and Twitter’s official apps reign supreme.
Many Twitter users may not be aware of the back story, so it is pretty fascinating to see some express uncertainty at displaying details of their phone. Indeed, a number of Android users lamented that the new detail is ‘exposing’ their devices.
Here’s a selection of tweets:
Thank god I switched to iPhone before this new twitter update cause chile, these android users are….. nvmd pic.twitter.com/5lkR2BGXbg
— EFRAIN (@DOMXXXTOP) December 22, 2018
Twitter is trying to expose us android users
— Marion (@bIackprincessa) December 22, 2018
twitter said: time to expose people with androids pic.twitter.com/ujl0WvTlzM
— el ✰ vacation (@angeIichoney) December 22, 2018
Omg twitter! What a discrimination towards android users! Perlu ke cakap twitter for android or twitter for iphone?! Hina sangat ke pakai android?!!
— (@hani_farisha22) December 21, 2018
Since Twitter can show what a person is tweeting with Android, iPhone etc.. We are going to be selective when we reply, can't be back chatting to someone who is using android. pic.twitter.com/FnxscpM7ah
— Terry (@TENDANIL) December 22, 2018
So Twitter released a new update where you will see thee kinda phone someone is tweeting from, either iPhone or Android… I've been scrolling for five minutes and all the tweets are from iPhones… Except mine pic.twitter.com/mY0tGE5SVw
— Your Class Rep (@DaRealSeguncool) December 22, 2018
twitter out here exposing ppl with this ‘twitter for iphone/android’ shit huh
— nia (@farfromhcme) December 22, 2018
Twitter for iphone
Twitter for android
The iphone v samsung fights are about to turn savage
— Nyasha (@NyashaSamsunga) December 8, 2018
Now Twitter let you know who uses IPhone and who uses Android and seems like I'm the only who uses Android here
— Liya | (@xliamstanxx) December 8, 2018
So now twitter tells me who's tweeting from Android or Iphone? I guess all us Android peasents need to start stockpiling ammo and jarring our urine.
— the_silver fox (@the_silverfox1) December 9, 2018
Twitter for iPhone / Twitter for Android pic.twitter.com/G6Rd208Qtp
— Intrapiernoso (@INTRAPlERNOSO) December 22, 2018
I could go on — you can see more here — but it seems like, for many, iPhone is still the ultimate status symbol over Android despite the progress made by the likes of Samsung, Huawei and newer Android players Xiaomi and Oppo.
While it may increase arguments between mobile’s two tribes, the feature has already called out brands and ambassadors using the ‘wrong’ device. Notable examples including a Korean boyband sponsored by LG using iPhones or the Apple Music team sending a tweet via an Android device. Suddenly spotting these mismatches is a whole lot easier.