These are not retweets. What I'm seeing is tweets of people who follow people I follow. For example if I follow John Doe I'll see a tweet from someone who follows John Doe too. At the top of the tweet it tells me "John Doe follows". How can I get rid if this?

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Are you sure you're not seeing favourite tweets? This behaviour was implemented in 2014:

Anger on Twitter as new feature posts favourites to followers' timelines

You can verify this by checking to see if there is a gold star visible on the tweet itself. As far as I am aware, there is not currently a way to disable this globally. You should be able to do it on an individual basis, similarly to disabling retweets from a specific person.

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