Twitter adds Tweets to timelines


Social network Twitter has confirmed the roll out of a new “experiment” that will see content from people you don’t follow appear on your timeline for the first time.

The new feature was first tested in the summer, with some Twitter users reporting tweets appearing on their timeline from accounts they didn’t follow, causing an angry reaction online.

A post has now appeared on the site’s official blog that confirms this feature has now been fully introduced, with Twitter’s Trevor O’Brien explaining: “Choosing who to follow is a great first step – in many cases, the best Tweets come from people you already know, or know of.

“But there are times when you might miss out on Tweets we think you’d enjoy. To help you keep up with what’s happening, we’ve been testing ways to include these Tweets in your timeline – ones we think you’ll find interesting or entertaining.”

Mr O’Brien confirmed that this was no longer an experiment, but a standard feature of the social site, with Twitter’s help centre information on timelines having also been suitably updated.

“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,” it now reads.

“We select each Tweet using a variety of signals, including how popular it is and how people in your network are interacting with it. Our goal is to make your home timeline even more relevant and interesting.”

Twitter is looking to close the gap on social networking rival Facebook in terms of users and how active they are, with Facebook currently drawing on over a billion monthly active users globally, while Twitter sits around the 270 million mark.

However, this latest update hasn’t received the warmest of welcomes, with Twitter users taking to their timelines to show their disapproval, many replying to the post from Twitter’s own account announcing the update.

@AngrierFish said: “Here’s an idea. Don’t”, while @MadeByTime added: “I see it and it’s terrible.”

Facebook has a similar feature that suggests new content to users, and some noted that Twitter shouldn’t be trying to emulate their rival.

One user commented: “Don’t be like Facebook”, while @HPExpertNorwich said “please don’t the ‘promoted by’ tweets are annoying enough.”

Twitter maintains however that change is good, with Mr O’Brien adding: “Some timeline experiments never make it to 100% of users. The ones that do aim to make the experience more interesting and relevant. As the timeline evolves, we will continue to show you Tweets you care about when they matter most.”