Blame your friends for Twitter screwing up your timeline

Chris Davies - Aug 22, 2014, 3:40 pm CDT
Blame your friends for Twitter screwing up your timeline

Twitter’s little-loved new habit of putting other users’ favorited tweets into your timeline may well be changing, it’s reported, though only to clarify why they’re showing up, not stop them altogether. The short-message social network began frustrating users earlier this month, by effectively treating some favorited tweets as favorites in how they were displayed to other users. Now, some background on exactly how that’s decided – and how it might be evolving – has emerged.

Twitter first began trials of the system early in August, and despite initially negative feedback, opted to not only carry on with the experiment but increase how many people would see the favorited tweets.


Currently, users see the tweet and the name of the person who marked it as a favorite. However, according to Re/code’s sources, it’s not actually down to just one person’s behaviors, no matter how many follows they might have.

Instead, it’s suggested, Twitter takes a broader look at the social graph, figuring that if several of the people you follow have been favoriting or retweeting a certain tweet then you’re potentially going to want to see it yourself.

So, for a single tweet to show up in someone else’s timeline, multiple people – the actual number still unclear – would need to have highlighted it to Twitter’s algorithm.

That’s not especially clear with the existing UI, and so the insiders say that Twitter is investigating other ways of delivering those group-approved tweets so that they don’t necessarily look like they’re coming through based on the actions of one single person.

Nonetheless, many remain unhappy with how the system is operating, given that the way people use the favoriting feature varies broadly. Some see it as a mark of approval, while others rely on it as a more low-key way of praising a tweet to its author without necessarily doing so publicly by retweeting it into their own timeline.

Other users, meanwhile, rely on favorites more as bookmarks, using them to keep a list of interesting links, comments, statistics, and other shared information but not intending them to be consumed publicly.

SOURCE Re/code

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