Twitter testing timeline changes that see tweets appear in out-of-order format

twitter job cuts q3 2016 version 1477340647 pew news source
Anthony Quntano / Creative Commons
Having introduced changes to image ratios and layout on its desktop service, Twitter is now reportedly testing something even bigger — presenting tweets by relevance rather than the usual reverse-chronological order (that is, most recent first). And not everyone is pleased.

A number of users have voiced their displeasure in seeing tweets on their timelines appearing in a seemingly random order. Apparently, this is an ongoing experiment to optimize the appearance of content for users, Twitter revealed in an email statement to Slate.

The changes are most apparent when a user logs back in to the service after a few hours. Whereas in the past the most recent tweets would have been viewable at the top of a timeline — no matter the source — they now seem to be ordered in terms of relevance. For those familiar with Twitter, it’s akin to the “While you were away” tweets that tend to display the most relevant content that you may have missed if you were logged off for a period of time.

Users on both the desktop and mobile versions of the social platform have noted the changes. What remains unclear, however, is the algorithm behind the timeline makeover.

We logged in to our feed and found a number of tweets from accounts we had liked and retweeted in the past right at the top of our mobile display, listed without regard to the time they were tweeted. Others have claimed that there is absolutely no order to the way their tweets are appearing, reports Slate. Additionally, the algorithm is said to be adapting to user behavior. Therefore, if you were to keep refreshing the page it might revert back to its original format.

The reasoning behind the move could be very simple. Twitter is constantly seeking ways to make its service more attractive for new users, to the extent that many have accused it of copying Facebook.

The problem, in this case, lies with the implementation. Prolific tweeters, and those obsessed with their follower count, don’t necessarily seek content on their ‘home’ timeline. Features such as lists and the search tab make it easy to organize and scour the service for the information you’re after. Just as common is its use as a social platform wherein the ‘home’ page is integral for those seeking updates from users they follow.

Catering to the differing needs of its users will no doubt be difficult for a versatile platform such as Twitter. Evidently, not everyone will be pleased by the service’s innovations. And it will be interesting to see if this turns out to be just a failed experiment or a long-term change.

Emerging Tech

Twitter is officially a teenager now. Are we raising a monster?

On March 21, 2006, Jack Dorsey sent the first ever tweet. Thirteen years later, Twitter has fundamentally changed the way we communicate. Here are some of the myriad ways it's done that.
Home Theater

Apple’s show time event: A whiplash-inducing bundle of copycat services

Apple unleashed a barrage of news, streaming, and gaming bundles at its latest event aimed at boosting its services and adding more revenue. But while the services are big on celebrities, they appear short on innovation.
Home Theater

Yesterday’s Apple event was a whiplash-inducing parade of copycat services

Apple showed off a massive barrage of news, streaming, and gaming bundles at its Showtime event aimed at boosting its services and adding more revenue. But while the services are big on celebrities, they appear short on innovation.
Home Theater

Apple’s new TV app: All of your shows, on (almost) every device you own

Apple is updating its TV App into a truly cross-platform one-stop shop for all of your movies and TV shows. It will appear on smart TVs and devices from Roku and Amazon, but there are still questions about features and price.
Social Media

Facebook explains its worst outage as 3 million users head to Telegram

Facebook, if you didn't already know it, suffered a bit of an issue on Wednesday, March 13. An issue that took down not only its social networking site, but also Instagram, WhatsApp, and Messenger. On Thursday it offered an explanation.
Gaming

Snapchat could soon let you play games in between your selfies

If a new report is accurate, Snapchat will be getting an integrated gaming platform in April. The platform will feature mobile games form third-party developers, and one publisher is already signed on.
Social Media

Twitter is testing a handy subscription feature for following threads

Twitter has recently started testing a feature that lets you subscribe to a thread so that you’ll no longer need to like a comment or post to it yourself in order to receive notifications of new contributions.
Social Media

Your Google+ public content will remain viewable on the web, if you want it to

Google's failed social network — Google+ — will soon be wiped from the internet, but there's a team of volunteers working right now to save its public content for the Internet Archive.
Computing

There’s more space on MySpace after ‘accidental’ wipe of 50 million songs

MySpace is no longer a safe refuge for music and media produced in the 2000s. It said that almost any artistic content uploaded to the site between 2003 and 2015 may have been lost as part of a server migration last year.
Computing

Intel and Facebook team up to give Cooper Lake an artificial intelligence boost

Intel's upcoming Cooper Lake microarchitecture will be getting a boost when it comes to artificial intelligence processes, thanks to a partnership with Facebook. The results are CPUs that are able to work faster.
Social Media

New Zealand attack shows that as A.I. filters get smarter, so do violators

The shootings in Christchurch, New Zealand were livestreamed to social media, and while stats show networks are improving at removing offending videos, as the system improves, so do the violators' workarounds.
Photography

Insta-checkout? New Instagram service lets you shop without leaving the platform

Shopping on Instagram no longer means leaving the platform to checkout in a web browser. Instagram checkout launched in beta today with a handful of retailers, allowing users to checkout without leaving the app.
Web

Switch up your Reddit routine with these interesting, inspiring, and zany subs

So you've just joined the wonderful world of Reddit and want to explore it. But with so many subreddits to choose from, exploring them can be overwhelming. Here are some of the best subreddits to get you started.
Social Media

Facebook axes alleged discriminatory targeting of ads after civil settlements

Facebook advertisers can no longer use targeting for age, gender or zip code when advertising in the housing, jobs, and credit categories. The changes come as part of a civil settlement, following earlier changes to remove racial targeting.