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Twitter Is Making Recommended Tweets Available to Everyone

Recommendations for all

by George Mensah
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Twitter has had a turbulent time since Elon Musk purchased the social media platform. Musk claims to have taken over the company in the name of free speech, but some changes made by Twitter under its new leadership appear arbitrary, somewhat unnecessary, and possibly even detrimental to Twitter’s own well-being, such as the ever-changing verification badge and Twitter Blue subscription. The most recent Twitter change is more likely a reaction to industry trends toward algorithm-driven content delivery over traditional engagement.

A growing number of social media platforms have already adopted an algorithm-based structure. In an earnings call, Facebook’s parent company Meta stated it aims to double the number of recommended posts on users’ feeds on both Facebook and Instagram by the end of 2023. (via Bloomberg). While Twitter has had recommendations for some time, it is changing who receives them and how it determines what to recommend.

According to The Guardian, Twitter first introduced recommendations on the timeline in 2014. The platform presented content and accounts to new users in the initial iteration of the recommendation service, seemingly to make the platform easier to use and boost user retention. Because of the changes to Twitter’s recommendations, even older accounts that tweet frequently will now receive recommended tweets.

The algorithm, according to Twitter, analyzes content you’ve previously interacted with, as well as content that people you regularly interact with are interacting with, including retweets, likes, and comments. Twitter refers to these as analytics and signals, and the algorithm uses them to determine which content to see or interact with more. While this method of content recommendation can help the platform grow and encourage user engagement outside of echo chambers, it can also drive division and promote negativity.

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According to a study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (via PubMed), most people are more neurologically activated by negative content, and because negativity is subjective — especially for controversial topics like politics — argumentativeness is more likely. Fortunately, at the top of the Twitter timeline, you can toggle between top tweets and new tweets.

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