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After years of outcry, Twitter is finally listening to its users and bringing back the chronological feed.
Twitter announced the move somewhat subtly in a series of tweets late Monday. The company said that it’s working to help Twitter’s timeline be more relevant to its user base, but in the meantime, users can make a switch in their Settings to see tweets from their followed accounts in reverse chronological order.
5/ Meanwhile, today we updated the “Show the best Tweets first” setting. When off, you’ll only see Tweets from people you follow in reverse chronological order. Previously when turned off, you’d also see “In case you missed it” and recommended Tweets from people you don’t follow.— Twitter Support (@TwitterSupport) September 17, 2018
Twitter first enabled its hotly debated algorithmic timeline back in 2016. The new algorithm hinged on showing users the “best tweets first”—tweets that were trending, gaining in popularity, or from Twitter personalities you most often interact with. Over the past two years, this algorithmic timeline completely changed users’ Twitter feeds, self-selecting news and tweets that were popular even if they were less relevant to that particular user. It could also bury tweets from less notable colleagues or friends.
Then, because tweets from certain followers didn’t get prominent placing, you were less likely to interact with their tweets—and even more unlikely to see their tweets moving forward.
To enable the reverse chronological feed, open the Twitter app and tap on your profile image. Next, select the “Settings and privacy” option, and then Content preferences. Twitter will have “Show me the best Tweets first” automatically checked in this menu—you’ll want to uncheck it.
In May, a search settings tweak that made the rounds let users view what their timeline looked like ten years ago. This highlighted the vast differences between Twitter’s current algorithmic feed and the old chronological one—and how much Twitter has changed since it first debuted.
Some hope that by disabling the algorithmic feed, Twitter can undo some of the deleterious issues it’s been experiencing with regards to malicious parties spreading false news, election interference, and accusations of bias. At the very least, it should surface some accounts you haven’t seen for ages—and let you know once and for all whether that algorithmic timeline improved your Twitter experience or not.
H/T the Verge
Christina Bonnington is a tech reporter who specializes in consumer gadgets, apps, and the trends shaping the technology industry. Her work has also appeared in Gizmodo, Wired, Refinery29, Slate, Bicycling, and Outside Magazine. She is based in the San Francisco Bay Area and has a background in electrical engineering.