X (Twitter) Removes Headlines From News Stories

Twitter, now rebranded as X, has made a significant change to how news links are displayed on the platform.

This alteration, implemented to enhancing aesthetics, has removed headlines from news links.

This shift, while applauded for its aesthetics, has stirred debates within the user community and the media industry.


The New Look


From now on, links shared on X will manifest as images with a small text pointing to the link’s domain in the left corner. Users interested in exploring the content must click on the image, however it’s unclear when first looking at the image that this is the case.

Additionally, this format closely resembles regular images uploaded to the platform, causing minimal disruption to the user experience. Whilst it’s definitely good for regular users, it will be interesting to see how it affects engagement on editorial links.

Notably, this change does not apply to advertisement links, maintaining a distinctive appearance for sponsored content.


Prioritising Aesthetics


Elon Musk, the driving force behind X’s recent changes, expressed his desire to enhance the platform’s aesthetics through this new design.

According to Musk, this makes posts more visually appealing. This decision, made official on a Wednesday, was met with a mix of enthusiasm and scepticism.



Impact on News Organisations


Since Musk took over X, the platform has become a less hospitable space for news organisations.

While X was not a primary source of traffic for most news sites, it played a crucial role in news sharing and gathering. However, reports indicate a decline in traffic from Twitter following Musk’s takeover. Major media outlets, including NPR and the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC), have reduced their presence on X. ABC cited toxic interactions and better engagement on alternative platforms as reasons for their retreat. Musk, in response, accused ABC of censorship.


Redefining News Consumption


Musk expressed his shift away from traditional news sources, indicating a preference for long-form content on X. He believes that the platform’s algorithm is optimised against external links, encouraging users to remain on the site for extended periods. This strategy reflects Musk’s vision of reshaping how news is consumed, using immersive and platform-native content.

The Anti-Defamation League (ADL), a civil rights group, had raised concerns about X’s issues with antisemitism and extremism. Musk, in response, accused the ADL of orchestrating a boycott against X, leading to financial losses. The ADL clarified its stance, acknowledging X’s efforts to address hate on the platform while emphasising that they did not orchestrate any boycott.

Musk expressed gratitude for the ADL’s clarification, highlighting their support for advertising on X and their active involvement as advertisers on the platform.


The New X Experience


As X evolves under Elon Musk’s ownership, the platform continues to transform both visually and functionally.

Users and media organisations are adapting to these changes, exploring new ways to engage with content in an increasingly dynamic digital landscape. Musk’s emphasis on aesthetics and immersive content experiences signals a shift in how social media platforms approach user engagement, setting the stage for potential industry-wide transformations.

As X navigates these changes, users can anticipate further shifts in the platform’s design and functionality, influencing how information is shared and consumed in the online sphere.