X removes headlines from news articles in latest major update

Innovation

X, formerly known as Twitter, is removing article headlines for links shared to the platform, which will now just display a thumbnail image accompanied by a website link—one of several changes to the app this year that arrives just days after Musk touted X as an alternative to popular news outlets.
Twitter

Musk has made several changes to the Twitter platform since acquiring the company last year, including changing its name to X. (Photo by Emin Sansar/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Key Takeaways
  • The change began taking place on X’s mobile app Wednesday but has seemingly not been implemented on the web/desktop version of the platform as of Wednesday evening.
  • Journalists on the platform complained the change would decrease attention to links and make it hard for users to understand the content of posted links, noting headlines will need to be manually written by users sharing news posts moving forward.
  • The change comes not long after a string of posts from X owner Elon Musk that stated the billionaire doesn’t read content from traditional news outlets he called “legacy media propaganda,” saying X was a “better,” more trustworthy alternative.
  • Musk argued Tuesday that links on X don’t get as much attention as they used to because the platform’s algorithm “tries to optimize time spent on X.”
Key Background

Plans for the headline change were first reported in August, when Musk confirmed it in a post saying it came directly from him and would “greatly improve the esthetics.”

Musk and his team at X have made several changes to the platform this year. In August, the ability to block other users was removed on X, stopping users from being able to restrict accounts from contacting them, following them or seeing their posts.

X also established a paid Blue subscription model in April, a shift that restricts the use of X-Pro, formerly known as Tweetdeck, to premium subscribers. Musk has made clear he intends to make X an “everything app,” integrating features into it that would make it more than a social media platform.

Tangent

X recently updated its privacy policy to inform users their biometric data would be collected in addition to their job and education history. The platform also plans to collect user data for training machine learning and AI models.

This article was first published on forbes.com and all figures are in USD.

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