Twitter debuts controversial new algorithmic timeline

Adam Westlake - Feb 10, 2016, 8:48am CST
Twitter debuts controversial new algorithmic timeline

Starting today, Twitter is rolling out its new and improved timeline feature that nearly caused a revolt over the weekend. Originally rumored as a replacement for the social network’s traditional reverse-chronological order timeline, the new un-named feature aims to make sure users don’t miss important or popular tweets from the people they follow. Once in place, the feature adds a selection of said tweets to the top of users’ timelines, similar to the existing “while you were away” feature.

As was previously reported, the feature does rely on an algorithm to determine which tweets are shown to users first. But that doesn’t mean it’s a complete re-organization of the timeline as a whole. Once users scroll down beyond the highlighted selection, they’ll find their standard timeline present in reverse-chronological order as it’s always been.

Twitter says the selection of tweets will be displayed both on the web and in the mobile app, but if users want to get it out of the way after a cursory glance, they can just refresh to dismiss it. The good news is that, even if this feature sounds like an annoyance, it can be disabled altogether. In settings, under the timeline section, just deactivate the “show me the best tweets first” option.

The social network adds that the timeline update is being rolled out to everyone gradually, so it might not appear right away. Once it does, users will be notified that it’s been enabled.

The feature is the latest attempt by Twitter to make its service easier for new users to get a handle on, as well as surface valuable content that they might otherwise miss in a crowded timeline. It sounds like a good idea on paper, but most users will probably just be happy it isn’t something forced on them.

SOURCE Twitter


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