Twitter started rolling out features aimed at personalizing users’ feed based on their interactions with other accounts and content on the app, with a renewed focus on delivering news on the platform.
The updates will go live for US-based iOS and Android users in the coming few months. The company is trying to make it easier for users to “discover more of what matters to you” with a newly designed explore tab, breaking news alerts and personalized news alerts on the timeline. Twitter is changing the explore tab to be divided by topic instead of by content type along with a feature that gives a ‘recap’ of an important event and receive a package of videos, tweet, news stories and articles for that event.
Twitter wants you to read the news — on Twitter
The app has already been sending out breaking news alerts on its platform, and it is now adding the feature for personalized news which is news alerts on the basis of what/who you follow, what you tweet about — information that is relevant to you, put together by algorithms and human curators. The news alerts, packaged with videos and tweets, will appear at the top of the timeline, the first thing users generally see when they open Twitter.
“We want Twitter to be the little bird on your shoulder that tells you what you need to know when you need to know it,” said Keith Coleman, Vice President of Product at Twitter.
Until now, users had to curate their feed themselves on the basis on their interests. You have to know the accounts, people, hashtags to be able to follow developments in an event or beat. The updates will do curate your news alerts based on your own Twitter activity — accounts you follow, what you tweet about, what videos you click on, and so on. The company’s director of curation Joanna Geary said that “there are a lot of people on Twitter who don’t have highly curated timelines.” The updates are also meant for such users who need assistance to discover new content and users.
This isn’t the first time Twitter is attempting to make news central as a way to get new users hooked on the service. Moments, which the company rolled out in 2015, was supposedly meant to curate news visually and outside the infinite-scrolling of the timeline.
Twitterverse will receive World Cup alerts
Note that, the news push will sample today when the FIFA 2018 World Cup will begin in Russia: Twitter is rolling out a dedicated topics page for the soccer tournament this Wednesday. This includes individual pages for each and every game, which offer quick access to scores, videos, tweets and more. “The World Cup is huge on Twitter,” Coleman said, adding that his team was excited to see the update roll out in time for the event. The app is making this feature available in ten languages including English, Spanish, Russian and Arabic.
According to Reuters, Twitter shares hit a three-year high yesterday after JP Morgan raised its price target on the stock, citing revenue growth estimates and Twitter’s ability to show “what’s happening now” during events like the 2018 FIFA World Cup.
Moments and Events
Moments is also being updated with vertical scrolling, as on the timeline, instead of horizontal scrolling. “I would think of this as the evolution of Moments,” said Geary at a press conference. The renewed push for news on the service is significant as its competitor Facebook has been fighting fake news and privacy breaches.
Twitter will also alert users of events it deems relevant for them through mobile notifications; it is also adding teasers for select events directly on top of people’s timelines — something the company has been experimenting with around sports games for some time now. It introduced “Happening now” at the top of the timeline for sports last year.