Twitter (now known as X) has been getting a lot of changes since Elon Musk took over the charge. And in a recent development, the platform is reported to have tested hiding headlines from articles shared on the site.
Fortune reports that news stories shared on X will only include a featured image and the URL. Publishers who want to share a piece of text with the story will have to type it themselves. Although clicking on the image will still take readers to the original story on the publisher’s website, the lack of context could affect how they engage with the content.
Kylie Robison, the journalist behind the Fortune report, explains in a post on X:
I decided to cut it because clutter — I can explain it here.
On mobile, articles look like this now (left). On desktop, they still look like how they have always looked (right).
— Kylie Robison (@kyliebytes) August 22, 2023
As the report points out, this could have major implications for publishers who depend on social media to drive traffic to their sites as well as for advertisers. According to the source, the driving force behind these changes is Elon Musk, who aims to reduce post heights and allocate more space for other posts on the timeline.
Musk himself confirmed this in a recent post on X, stating, “This is coming directly from me. It will greatly improve the esthetics.” This move might also be intended to encourage journalists to publish directly on X, as Musk believes that journalists who seek “more freedom to write” and “higher income” should use the platform.
There is no word yet on when this change will be implemented on the platform. However, once X does make the change, publishers may need to adjust their strategies for how they interact with readers through their articles.
In related news, X is getting ready for a major overhaul of its search function. Elon Musk announced earlier this month that the platform will introduce semantic search capabilities to help users find more relevant content.