Did they send that tweet themself, or use automated software?

Desktop Twitter no longer includes information about what client / platform / application etc was used to send the tweet, which removes a tiny bit of information about how the tweet was sent. Normally you’d never need to know (or care) but sometimes it might be useful to know if someone was sitting at their computer and hand-typing in the tweet, or if the tweet had previously been scheduled to be sent at a particular time.

Knowing this info might be useful in a vaguely forensic setting, but I have no idea if the evidence would be admissible in an actual court. It cannot prove who logged in to the account and typed the tweet of course, but may be useful in building a picture of how Twitter was being used by the account.

Echofon for iPhone is both a free and paid-for app on iphones that will tell you what application was used to send any tweet, Fenix is an equivalent for Android phones (hat tip @bitoclass & @skepticosaurus). You can click on any tweet and it will appear on its own page with info at the bottom saying ‘Via XYZ’.

  • Via Echofon obviously means the sender is also a user of that app.
  • Via Twitter for iPhone or iPad tells you they typed it in using an iPhone and the official Twitter app.
  • Via Twitter Web Client tells you that they used a desktop browser to type the tweet by hand. Until  recently it was also possible for someome to ‘fake’ this by downloading the  Chrome browser and send a tweet from there using their phone. The tweet was sent by phone but would show up as being sent from the desktop version. However Twitter’s now changed its settings and this is currently, or no longer, possible.
  • Via Buffer tells you that the tweet was scheduled for future posting
  • Via WordPress.com or other blog tells you that the tweet has been sent on the publication of a blog post (which may itself have been scheduled in advance)

See also Forensic Twitter.