Elon Musk doesn’t want any news headlines on the social network formerly known as Twitter. The change that started rolling out yesterday removes the headlines from the news links, which Musk says will make the links better on the social network that has been renamed X.
“This is coming from me directly. It will improve progress,” Musk wrote in a twitter.com post on August 22 after a change was reported to be in the works. The change is already live on the mobile app and the web version but has not made its way to all the company’s apps. News link headlines continue to show today on the Mac app, which is also called Twitter and hasn’t been updated in a year.
Previously, posting a news link on X/Twitter would create a box with the article’s lead image, title, and the news site’s location. Now, a news link on X is just an image with a site name (for example, arstechnica.com) in the upper left corner. Clicking on the image will take you to the news site article.
A Tweeter (or Xer, as Musk prefers) can also post the title and/or description of the article in the main text field. If the user doesn’t do that, the post won’t have any text describing what the article is about.
Here’s what the links look like before and after the change:
Fortune reported in August that there was a change in the works. “It’s something that Elon wants. They run through advertisers, who don’t like it, but it happened,” Fortune said a source as saying. The article states that Musk’s idea “is that individuals who share this type of content will be compelled to write an interesting post.”
References to news websites are already available
While the change may be confusing for users, it may not make a big difference for news organizations that have not received much traffic from the site. Referrals to news sites from Twitter/X and Facebook have been falling since August 2020, according to Similarweb data cited in the feature Axios report this week.
Musk indicated that he wants news organizations to “post content the long way” directly on the social platform. In response to a twitter.com post yesterday about declining referrals from social networks to news sites, Musk wrote“Our algorithm is trying to increase the time we spend on X, so the links are not very noticeable, because there is less time if people click away. The best thing is to post content in a long way on this point.”
Musk has clashed with news outlets several times, for example, by calling The New York Times “propaganda” and labeling NPR as “state-affiliated media.” Yesterday, he wrote, “I almost never read news of war.” Some news organizations, such as NPR we had PBShave stopped tweeting from their main accounts.
Musk paid $44 billion for Twitter in October 2022, a purchase that saddled the company with huge debt payments. In June, Fidelity estimated the company’s value at $15 billion.
X’s daily active users reported fell 3.7 percent, to 245 million, since Musk bought the company then called Twitter. US advertising revenue of the Musk-led social network “has declined at least 55 percent year-over-year in each month” since Musk took over, according to third-party data disclosed in Reuters article yesterday