Elon Musk wants to hide news headlines from link previews on Twitter

A report has revealed that Elon Musk intends to remove news headlines and for them to appear as link previews on Twitter (now X). The move is being considered to reduce the height of preview posts as well as curb clickbait.

| Updated on: Aug 22 2023, 10:27 IST
Elon Musk
Twitter may not show news headlines in link previews soon. (REUTERS)
Elon Musk
Twitter may not show news headlines in link previews soon. (REUTERS)

It appears that the ‘block' is not the only Twitter (now X) feature whose future is in jeopardy. After expressing his views on how blocking users is pointless and suggesting he may take away this feature, company owner Elon Musk is targetting the headlines on link previews, as per reports. At present, a large number of news organizations share their articles on X. While sharing the articles, the platform generates a link preview that contains the image, URL, headline, and a short summary. But soon, the headline might be gone to reduce the height of the preview window.

Fortune viewed material that revealed that this change is directly being pushed by Musk. The report cited unnamed sources who said, “It's something Elon wants. They were running it by advertisers, who didn't like it, but it's happening”. The primary reason appears to be reducing the height of the preview posts to allow users to see more content in a single window, as well as to curb clickbait, as per the report.

However, it is likely that the move was done to push journalists to directly publish on X.

A few hours ago, Musk tweeted, “If you're a journalist who wants more freedom to write and a higher income, then publish directly on this platform”.

Twitter to remove news headlines from previews

While the reasons above make sense, there is likely another reason behind the move as well. Since X is aiming to become the ‘everything app', one of the biggest obstacles the platform has to address is the reduction of traffic on the website via external links. By definition, an everything app is supposed to be a platform that can keep users engaged for longer durations and gives them everything they need without leaving the app. This includes games, payments interface, shopping options, entertainment, social media, and more.

So, news websites taking away users from their platform is not in the best interest of Musk or the company. But if journalists began posting directly on the platform, that would not only stop the problem of users leaving but also bring more users for its original reporting.

However, at present, it is a lofty idea at best since most news websites are governed by strict industry standards that ensure fact-checking and minimize errors. With no such guidelines and system present on Twitter, building trust in the platform's native journalism will be difficult.

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First Published Date: 22 Aug, 10:26 IST