Is A Retweet An Endorsement?

Occasionally on Twitter I am asked to retweet something; a competition, a charitable cause, a tweet to raise awareness.  Some of the time I exercise my right to share a tweet that I find humorous, something that angers me or even an opinion that I wholly agree with.  By doing so, I believe I am endorsing the information in the tweet or accompanying link - I am showing my support.  More often than not, I try to add a few words into the retweet to express my opinion.  This is easier using a third party client such as Tweetdeck as the Twitter web only allows a direct retweet with no alteration to the original text.

This is where endorsement issues can arise.

A 19-year old Councillor in Staffordshire was suspended after retweeting a post about genital mutilation for teenage mothers.  Mr Taylor says he retweeted the post to raise awareness whilst opposition Councillors believe that the retweet endorsed the practice.  Without reading tweets either side of this action, the intent remains a grey area and, in a busy twitter timeline, previous and subsequent tweets can be lost.

About a year ago a new social media interactive tool was the talk of the town. Triberr encouraged groups of bloggers to form a supportive 'tribe' and tweet out each others blog posts to help with promotion.  On the surface that activity sounds like a really good idea but, for a time, Triberr tweets were automatic.  I was immediately concerned that if I joined a 'tribe' and an auto-tweet was pushed out via my account did that mean that I support that view point?

I would much prefer someone to read my blog post and decide whether it should be shared on social media platforms on its own merits.  And even if the content is disagreeable then the luxury of freedom of speech allows comment to that effect.

If you see someone retweeting something, do you presume that they support the information in that tweet?  Is there any truth in the saying "120 is the new 140"... meaning that you should leave room on the tweets to allow for comments in the retweet?  When you share content do you always include your own thoughts before posting to your profile?  Let me know in the comments.

This post first appeared on Typecast in August 2011
Picture credit:  Mashable
News source: BBC News