Twitter Experiments With Breaking News Modules at the Top of User Feeds
Twitter Brings News to the Forefront
In recent years, Twitter has quickly become a full fledged conversation hub and one of the internet’s top sources for real time news updates. As a way to capitalize on this evolution, the social media giant is taking steps to embolden top news stories by promoting them at the top of user timelines in the form of modules.
These breaking news modules will make it easier for users to stay informed and keep track of conversations surrounding major events.
Twitter’s efforts at promoting third party news content contradicts Facebook’s recent decisions to cut back on news and third party content. As Facebook dives deep into user created content as a way to fight back against fake news, Twitter is banking on more news and publisher created content to keep the conversation going.
According to Buzzfeed, a spokesperson for Twitter has stated that humans will be involved in the curation of the posts during the test run but that news stories may be entirely algorithmic in the future.
This new module expands on Twitter’s ‘Happening Now’ updates launched last October. These updates focused primarily on sports stories, but now important and mainstream news stories will be part of the fold.
When users click on the news stories in the module they will be taken to a stream of tweets related to the event, allowing them to keep track of the story in real-time. Unlike in Twitter Moments, currently found in the search tab, users will see a longer stream of algorithmic tweets related to the news story instead of a few notable tweets selected by staff.
Small groups of iOS and Android users in the US got a taste of the new modules and curated timelines on Wednesday. The featured news stories were in relation to the death of Stephen Hawking, the congressional special election in Pennsylvania, and a lawsuit against Fox News filed by the family of DNC staffer Seth Rich.
Additionally, if all goes well during the test run, the new modules may feature two separate timelines related to the same news event; one with up to the minute tweets and another that summarizes tweets. News on when the update will roll out to all users has yet to be announced.
The news has never been more social and Twitter understands that. By leaning into shared experiences and real time moments, Twitter may get an edge on Facebook as it scrambles to solve it’s fake news problem.