Twitter is Introducing an “Algorithmic Timeline”, AKA The Beginning of the End

I'm sorry. What?

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It’s difficult to comprehend some of the recent decisions the team behind Twitter has been making recently.

It feels like only yesterday (okay, so it was Thursday) that Twitter was in the news yet again for its seemingly nonsensical decision-making when it comes to suspending certain accounts and bypassing others after users reported legitimate threats. Before that, it was making an announcement that we might be getting a 10,000 character limit on tweets. Before that, it made the swap from “favorites” to “likes”, which prompted many users to voice concern that Twitter appeared to be valuing small cosmetic changes over a more important systemic change in cracking down more severely on online harassment.

Now, BuzzFeed is reporting that Twitter may be bringing in something called an “algorithmic timeline”, or an adjusted timeline that will display specifically ordered tweets based on what the system thinks the user wants to see. Apparently, the algorithmic timeline could be introduced as early as next week–and there’s been no news yet on whether all users will be switched over automatically, or if it will be an optional means of display.

The common denominator here? Twitter continues to make changes to its interface that seemingly no one has asked for. While the report says that Twitter had previously tested the algorithm with “a small group of users”, and that “it appears the test went well enough to roll it out more broadly”, the general consensus among the majority of Twitter users doesn’t appear to be that positive. (#RIPTwitter began trending not too long after the news broke.) At present, those users who have been testing the algorithm say that it is possible to switch back to “most recent” view, although it’s an option they have to select manually each time they sign in.

This could put a real wrench in a lot of what makes Twitter enjoyable for people–and let’s not get into how this is going to ruin all of our livetweeting.

(via BuzzFeed)

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