Twitter makes the algorithmic timeline named “For You” the default feed on iOS. If you have any idea of déjà vu, you do not dream. The company tried to pull this waterfall before only to give the option of returning to a chronological timeline after much backlash.
So what’s different this time around? The Elon Musk-led company now displays algorithmic and timeline feeds side-by-side. Users can switch between them by swiping their phone screen. Until now, users had to tap the flickering icon in the upper right corner to switch between “Home” and “Last” timelines. Twitter justifies its latest change by saying that users can now easily swipe between renamed “For You” and “Following” timelines.
But the flaw in this design is that users will see the algorithmic timeline by default and eventually they might use the timeline less.
Another annoying thing about this change is that if you’re using a pinned list on your account for alternate timelines, you’ll now have to swipe more to switch between those lists.
We can’t say we didn’t see it coming. Musk tweeted last month that the “master timeline should allow for easy sideways swiping between top, latest, trending, and topics you follow.”
Last month, Twitter noted that it was taking steps to display more tweets from people you don’t follow in your timeline. At the time, the company said the change would help show everyone the “best” content on the platform.
Twitter isn’t the only culprit in pushing algorithmic feeds. TikTok already shows users an algorithmic feed, also named “For You”, by default when users open the app. Instagram also offered suggested content to users. Although the company offers users the option to switch to a timeline feed or a favorites feed, there is no setting to set either of these timelines as the default timeline. But Instagram doesn’t stop there. Last year, Mark Zuckerberg said the company plans to double the amount of recommended content by the end of this year.
Making an algorithmic timeline the default feed isn’t the only change the company has made. Musk said Twitter is developing features that allow users to change font size and add styles such as bold, italic and underline. He noted that the goal was for users to “publish long-form content natively” on the platform.