In the ever-evolving landscape of social media, Platform X, formerly recognized as Twitter, is once again making waves. This time, the driving force behind the transformation is none other than its enigmatic owner, Elon Musk, and the change is set to impact news publishers on the platform.
First reported by Fortune and later confirmed by Musk himself, the platform is undergoing a makeover aimed at revamping how news links are presented. In Musk’s words, “This is coming from me directly. Will greatly improve the aesthetics.” The forthcoming alteration will shift the focus away from displaying headlines and accompanying text from news links, leaving only the primary image visible. This change will limit users’ ability to glean the contents of an article before clicking the link.
As it stands, news links appear on users’ timelines as “cards” featuring an image, source address, and a condensed headline. This packaging has historically been effective in enticing clicks and helping publishers attract readers.
One plausible interpretation of this move is that it may be part of a strategy to encourage users to subscribe to X’s premium service. With the truncated links, users may be inclined to include more text in their posts. The premium service, notably, allows for a single post of up to a whopping 25,000 characters.
The implications for advertisers on the platform remain uncertain. Musk had previously stated in July that X had amassed a user base of 540 million monthly users.
These changes underscore Musk’s vision for X as a platform more conducive to content creators. Premium subscribers can now upload longer videos, enjoy increased visibility for their posts, and even receive a portion of ad revenue.
Since taking the reins at Twitter (now X) in October 2022, Musk has implemented a series of abrupt changes, many of which have had a negative impact on the platform’s significant news media user base. Journalists have been suspended, verification badges stripped from numerous media figures, and Musk has even ventured into the realm of journalism himself with the “Twitter Files,” a project in which investigative reports were published directly on the platform.
In a recent post, Musk invited journalists to embrace greater freedom and the prospect of higher income by publishing directly on his platform. His takeover of Twitter resulted in the dissolution of its public relations department and a marked shift away from engaging with media requests. In response to inquiries, X has resorted to automated replies, symbolizing a shift in its approach to communication.