If you use Twitter, there are numerous reasons why allowing the social media platform’s algorithm to determine what you see could be beneficial. Allowing Twitter’s AI to take over and push tweets it deems relevant to the top of your timeline can save you hours of scrolling in cases where you follow hundreds of accounts. Having said that, many users still prefer to choose the content they see without being influenced by the social network’s algorithm, which is why the company faced such a backlash that it reversed a major timeline change in early 2022. (via Twitter).
Turning off the algorithm may be what you need if you want more control over your feed and don’t want to be forced to see content you don’t want to see. Fortunately, Twitter allows users to toggle between an algorithmic Home feed timeline that shows recommended tweets based on your activity on the platform and the Latest feed, which displays tweets from your connections in reverse-chronological order without the use of an algorithm (via Twitter Help Center).
Disabling the algorithm could be useful
Switching to the chronological Latest feed may be better for you due to user preference. Twitter’s algorithm bases the tweets it shows to any given user on a variety of factors, making it reasonably likely that you’ll be shown content you’re interested in. While organic reach for content is based on ranking signals such as recency, impressions, likes, and retweets (via Search Engine Land), there’s still a chance you’ll miss tweets from accounts you follow simply because the algorithm doesn’t bring them to the top of your feed.
When breaking news occurs, the algorithmically inclined home feed may not be in your favor. In these cases, reading the most recent tweets about the subject may be more important than seeing Twitter’s best content recommendations. Setting your account to the chronological Latest feed allows you to receive the most up-to-date information about a breaking news situation as soon as it becomes available.
Since the introduction of algorithm-based sorting on Twitter in 2016, users’ feeds have undergone numerous changes. In March 2022, the platform debuted a feature that allowed iOS users to toggle between the Home and Latest feeds. However, Twitter users were irritated when the default feed was changed to show algorithm-based tweet selections first. Following the backlash from that change, the company reverted to the previous default feed, promising to “explore other options.”
How to turn off Twitter’s algorithmic feed
Although Twitter is filled with algorithms, there are ways to customize your feed to better suit your needs. To see tweets in the order they were posted by the accounts you follow rather than the content the algorithm thinks you’ll like, simply click or tap on the sparkling stars icon in the app or on the desktop website. Tapping that icon will bring up a menu with the option to “see latest Tweets instead,” which will show you new tweets as they are posted. This is especially useful for keeping up with live commentary and seeing the most recent updates on breaking news situations.
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You can also use Twitter Lists to turn the algorithm on its head. This feature allows you to collect accounts from which you want to hear more and organize them into different lists, each of which you create. You can then limit your Twitter experience to only seeing tweets, comments, likes, and replies from the accounts you follow on that List feed, rather than being overwhelmed by tweets from everyone else.