Just days ago, reports highlighted that billionaire Elon Musk intended to remove headlines from link previews on X (formerly Twitter) to make the height of the preview box smaller. But that does not mean that he wants these users and organizations to stop using the platform. In fact, Musk has been openly asking journalists and news organizations to become a part of the platform and participate in news sharing to begin earning money from X’s revenue-sharing program. But with no option to share headlines in links, it might be that the billionaire is setting things up for original, or direct, reporting on the social media site - scribes are being encouraged to post directly on X.
In the early hours of today, August 23, Musk tweeted, “Our advertising revenue share program also applies to organizations (news or otherwise) who wish to participate”. This tweet is part of Musk’s ongoing campaign where he appears to be luring media houses and journalists to start news reporting on the platform. Just two days ago, he posted, “If you’re a journalist who wants more freedom to write and a higher income, then publish directly on this platform”. In fact, he is using any opportunity he gets to talk about how this is a great proposition. But is it, really?
That much is true. One of the biggest USPs of X is that it is set up to start conversations around big events that are currently happening. News organizations and journalists play a big role in driving this engagement as every breaking news is posted first on Twitter. In fact, some organizations exclusively post their reports on X. So, it is not that Musk wants this major source of engagement to go away.
But the headline link removal would probably convince you otherwise. After all, with just the photo and the URL, it is difficult to convey the content of the article. Yet, Musk is getting this done, as per reports.
What this could mean is that the billionaire wants to push for original reporting and exclusive platform-specific content. Journalists and news organizations can still caption the headline and keep it outside of the link preview. They can also add a small summary to detail the direction of the article. And with monetary compensation, this could easily lead to X-specific exclusive stories being written in the near future.
While this is still speculative at best, if Musk does intend to create an everything app, he will have to ensure that users are staying on the platform and not leaving it again and again as the super app playbook is entirely driven by engagement. As such, if journalists and news organizations are willing to type and explain the news story, it saves users a click and they can keep scrolling for longer.
It remains to be seen if this is the direction Musk wants to take.
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