Twitter is facing a minor revolt after changing how its timeline works, inserting content “that’s popular or relevant” from accounts that users don’t even follow.
The tweak has been officially acknowledged on the company’s “What’s a Twitter timeline?” page, with an update information users: “You will sometimes see Tweets, from accounts you don’t follow.”
“We select each Tweet using a variety of signals, including how popular it is and how people in your network are interacting with it," writes Twitter on the FAQ. "Our goal is to make your home timeline even more relevant and interesting.”
The change, first spotted by The Next Web, brings Twitter’s timeline closer to Facebook’s newsfeed, offering curated content that's designed to ‘improve engagement’ - and not simply following what users own choices.
It’s a small but fundamental change in how the micro-blogging service works, and has already sparked a minor backlash from users, many of whom use favourites for reasons other than approving of content.
Hey @twitter! Can you please fix my timeline? I don't need to see people's favs, that's what retweets are for!— Dedalus Root (@DedalusRoot) August 20, 2014
So now the twitter tells you what people fave. But it doesn't realize people us fave for different things. Me... Mostly reading list.— kenny friedman (@smonkyou) August 20, 2014
Hey @twitter - if you put my faves into my followers' timelines I will probably fave less.— Devin Faraci (@devincf) August 17, 2014
The change is certainly more than just an experiment (Twitter doesn't usually change its official descriptions for these) but if, as the last user indicates, it discourages engagement then they might go back to the original system. More likely: most users will forget about it and get on with life as normal.