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Twitter starts showing users tweets from people they don’t follow

How very Facebook of you, Twitter. 


Taylor Hatmaker


Posted on Oct 17, 2014   Updated on May 30, 2021, 9:26 am CDT

In an update on its company blog, Twitter just announced that it will start showing you tweets from users that you don’t follow. In a departure from its roots as a pure, solely user-curated social network, Twitter has recently been experimenting with different ways to tweak the content streams it displays to users. Apparently it liked the feedback from those experiments, which have sprinkled recommended tweets, accounts, and topics into user timelines.

Twitter claims that the majority of users provided positive feedback about these forays into an algorithmically curated feed:

“Testing indicated that most people enjoy seeing Tweets from accounts they may not follow, based on signals such as activity from accounts you do follow, the popularity of the Tweets, and how people in your network interact with them. These experiments now inform the timeline you see today.”

While Twitter notes that its other experiments have never rolled out to all users across its network, the language in the Twitter help center makes it sound like the newest change is indeed network-wide:

“…When we identify a Tweet, an account to follow, or other content that’s popular or relevant, we may add it to your timeline. This means you will sometimes see Tweets from accounts you don’t follow. We select each Tweet using a variety of signals, including how popular it is and how people in your network are interacting with it.”

This fundamental change in the way Twitter works sticks around certainly benefits promoted tweets, Twitter’s form of ads. In a stream that has more in common with Facebook’s heavily curated news feed than the pure Twitter we’ve come to expect, advertising will be more at home than ever.

Photo via jeffreyw (CC BY 2.0) | Remix by Jason Reed

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*First Published: Oct 17, 2014, 3:06 pm CDT