Friday, September 22, 2023

Twitter now defaults to a For You page, just like TikTok

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Shreya Christina
Shreya has been with for 3 years, writing copy for client websites, blog posts, EDMs and other mediums to engage readers and encourage action. By collaborating with clients, our SEO manager and the wider team, Shreya seeks to understand an audience before creating memorable, persuasive copy.

Twitter is changing the way you move between the algorithmic timeline and the reverse chronological timeline and making the algorithmic feed the default.

In a change rolling out to iOS users first, the company has removed the star button in the top right that lets you switch between two feeds. In place are two tabs – one labeled “For You” and the other “Following” – and when you open the app, you’ll first see the For You tab.

Gif showing what it's like to swipe between timelines

What the swiping between the two timelines looks like.
Venom: Jay Peters/The Verge

For You, which shares a name with TikTok’s algorithm-driven feed, is similar to the old “Home” option, which shows you tweets from the people you follow interspersed with tweets it thinks you might like. (This isn’t the first time Twitter has copied a TikTok feature.) Here’s what used to be called “Latest Tweets.”

While the change makes it easier to switch between the two, taking a single swipe rather than a few taps, there’s something that’s been lost – if you set your app to show you the ‘Latest Tweets’, it is normally preserved.

But now, even when you close and reopen the app, you will be presented with the For You feed. That’s a bit of a shame; there are many people who prefer the reverse chronological feed, and previous attempts to get rid of it or make it more difficult to access have usually sparked anger. While this change technically makes it easier to get out of the algorithmic timeline, it certainly makes the last option harder to ignore.

The old star button interface is still available on Android and the web for now.

The change partly fulfills a promise made by Twitter CEO Elon Musk. on 20 Dec. he tweeted that the “main timeline should allow for an easy side-swipe between top, latest, trending, and topics you follow,” and said the company would “implement this change shortly.” So far there is no option to swipe for trending and followed topics, although the trending page is just a few taps away in the search menu.

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