Elon Musk has confirmed that he authorized X, the social network formerly known as Twitter, to remove headlines from shared articles. The X Corp. owner tweeted in August, “This is coming from me directly. Will greatly improve the esthetics.”
Variety reports that Musk doesn't like users posting links because it steers traffic away from X, the content algorithm of which deprioritizes links. On October 3, Musk tweeted, “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.”
The Variety report continues: “The change will alter the way media companies and publishers share content to X, since without the headline appearing below the image, a post will lack context unless the headline is included as the text of the post (or unless the headline is included in the image shared with the article). Articles shared to X still link back to the original site, by clicking on the featured image. Some X users reported that as of Wednesday they were still seeing headlines displayed in articles in their timeline.”
Elon Musk Prefers Citizen Journalism to Mainstream Media Outlets on X
Musk criticizes mainstream media regularly and encourages X users to post text, audio, pictures, and videos directly to the platform. In May, Musk tweeted, “Citizen journalism breaks the monopoly held by a handful of editors – they naturally don’t like that.” Musk rescinded The New York Times‘ all-important blue checkmark because the iconic newspaper refused to pay for verified status. He then restored the verified checkmark before removing it again. As of today, The New York Times still does not feature a verified checkmark on its official X page.
Variety reports, “Among other changes Musk has made since he took over Twitter in October 2022: He discarded the Twitter name and logo in favor of X, his favorite letter of the alphabet; updated the verified check-mark program to allow any paying subscriber to get one (and pulled the blue check-marks from celebrity accounts, before restoring many of them just days later); and oversaw mass layoffs eliminating 80% of the company’s workforce.”
Musk is also mulling over implementing a monthly charge for all X users because, he says, “it’s the only way I can think of to combat vast armies of bots.”