Elon Musk removes headlines from articles shared on X to ‘improve the aesthetics’

X is no longer showing headlines on articles shared on the platform on its iOS app. The change comes a month after Elon Musk said he wanted to do this to improve the aesthetics of the platform.

| Updated on: Oct 05 2023, 09:37 IST
On the left, X on iOS without headlines accompanying link preview. On the right, X on Android where the headline can still be seen. (X)
On the left, X on iOS without headlines accompanying link preview. On the right, X on Android where the headline can still be seen. (X)

X (formerly Twitter) has added another change to the iOS app version of its platform which might frustrate many users. The app has stopped showing headlines on the articles and other pages shared via URL to the platform in some regions. This means when a user shares a URL, it will only show the lead image of the web page and the domain name. As a result, users who follow Twitter accounts of news outlets and individuals who share the same will now face a tough time understanding what the content is about. Reports reveal that this change has directly come from company owner Elon Musk.

As per a report by The Verge, Musk has been focusing on boosting engagement on the platform, and in an attempt to do so, he has been asking users to post more content on X. He has also urged journalists to create their own brand and to post directly to X and earn revenue through the platform, which could be another reason to sideline links shared to the platform that could take users away and onto a different website.

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Elon Musk removes headlines from X

As per the report, the change has only been seen on the iOS app version of the platform, while Android and the website continue to show the headline alongside the lead image. However, it is unlikely that this change will be restricted to iOS, and eventually it is expected to take effect on all the different versions of the platform.

And the reason for that appears to be that the decision comes directly from the owner of the company. A little over a month ago, Musk replied to a tweet that reported on X planning to remove headlines from links and said, “This is coming from me directly. Will greatly improve the esthetics (sic)”.

Yesterday, while responding to a post that reported on falling referral numbers to news sites from social media platforms like Facebook and X, Musk said, “Our algorithm tries to optimize time spent on X, so links don't get as much attention, because there is less time spent if people click away. Best thing is to post content in long form on this platform”.

So, this is clearly the direction Musk intends to take when it comes to building a more engaged platform. However, it remains to be seen how the users who follow social media platforms as a way to stay connected with news and prefer to read the headlines before clicking on a link adapt to this sudden change.

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First Published Date: 05 Oct, 09:01 IST