Elon Musk is planning to remove headlines from news articles posted on X, formerly known as Twitter, in yet another dramatic change that has divided opinion on how this will impact users and publishers on the platform.
According to a post by billionaire Musk on Monday, the social media platform is planning to change the way news links are shown on the platform’s feed, including removing the headline and lead text.
In removing the complete essence of the news article, bar the lead image, it can be assumed that it’s another way of X attempting to keep users on the platform – removing the draw to leave for a third party site.
As it currently stands, all news links are presented in a “card” package on X, which clearly shows the lead image, headline and link. It’s been a helpful staple for news publishers and users looking to gain clicks from the site and share news for discourse.
Bryce Wilcock, a senior public relations advisor at Creo Comms and former business journalist, believes the removal of the full card package will impact publishers, journalists and businesses who use the platform.
“Since Elon Musk took control of the platform last year, we’ve had a number of clients ask us whether they should continue committing resource to the platform, and this latest tweak could well be the push that finally drives many businesses away from the platform for good,” Wilcock told Verdict.
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Wilcock said the decline in traffic to websites, as well as less visible and descriptive links, may leave “wondering if it’s even worth maintaining a presence on the site”.
However, some have spoken out in favour of the change.
Simon Litt, Digital Marketing expert at the CMO told Verdict that by removing the headline and description, it will allow users to give “a little extra attention when distributing content via the platform.”
“Just as you need to spend time creating a distinct thumbnail for content on YouTube, you’re soon going to need to create “thumbnail” assets for X,” Litt said.
Elon Musk has been making major changes to X since his takeover in November, with the most recent focusing on making the platform “content creator centric”.
In early August the SpaceX and Tesla head announced that all creators on the platform would be able to keep all the ad revenue made from their posts, until the payout exceeds $100k – when they would start to take 10%.
It’s a move Musk continues to push as he battles to make X’s premium subscription, previously Twitter Blue, an enticing proposition for users. As well as receive ad revenue, premium subscribers can post longer videos, longer text posts and receive more visibility at the top of the feed.