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X Eliminates Display of Article Headlines in Recent Update, Exacerbating Tensions with News Media

by Gabriel Martinez
10 comments
Platform Update

X, previously recognized as Twitter, has recently updated its platform to cease the presentation of article headlines when such articles are shared. Instead, only the leading image and a direct link to the article are displayed.

The modifications were initially disclosed in an August report by Fortune, during which Elon Musk, the owner of X, acknowledged through a public statement that the alteration originated directly from him and would “significantly enhance the visual appeal” of posts on the platform.

Articles that are linked now manifest solely as an image, with text displayed in the left-hand corner indicating the website domain of the article. To access the complete article, users are required to click on the image, a feature that could potentially generate confusion.

Recent criticisms against Musk’s platform have been numerous and include a statement by a senior European Union official accusing X of harboring “the highest rate of false or misleading information.” Additionally, the Anti-Defamation League, a well-known Jewish civil rights group, has condemned Musk for permitting the dissemination of antisemitism and hate speech on the platform.

This most recent move by Musk further widens the existing gap between X and news agencies that have historically relied on the platform to expand their readership. One of Musk’s more contentious decisions was the complete overhaul of the site’s user verification system.

Previously under Twitter’s original administration, journalists, irrespective of the size of their publication, were eligible for a blue verification checkmark, thereby authenticating their identity. This system was extended to celebrities and other notable public figures. However, Musk disrupted this practice by terminating the verification process altogether, subsequently allowing anyone to acquire a blue checkmark by simply subscribing to a monthly fee—absent of any identity verification.

Further, Musk has essentially dismantled the team responsible for content moderation on the platform. He has also intermittently suspended journalist accounts and seems to have restricted or reduced access to links leading to major media outlets such as The New York Times.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Platform Update

What changes did X make in its latest platform update?

In its most recent update, X, formerly known as Twitter, has removed the display of article headlines when articles are shared on the platform. Now, only the lead image and a direct link to the article are shown.

Who confirmed the changes and what was the purported reason?

Elon Musk, the owner of X, confirmed the changes. He stated that the update, which originated directly from him, aims to “significantly enhance the visual appeal” of posts on the platform.

How do linked articles appear now on X?

Linked articles are now displayed solely as a leading image with a text in the left-hand corner indicating the domain of the linked article. To read the full article, users must click on this image.

Has X received any recent criticisms?

Yes, X has been the subject of recent criticisms, including from a senior European Union official who accused the platform of having “the highest rate of false or misleading information.” The Anti-Defamation League has also accused Elon Musk of allowing the spread of antisemitism and hate speech on the platform.

How has X’s relationship with news organizations changed?

The latest changes further exacerbate existing tensions between X and news organizations. These agencies have historically used the platform to expand their audiences, and the changes have been perceived as detrimental to this symbiotic relationship.

What alterations were made to X’s user verification system?

Under Elon Musk’s ownership, X overhauled its user verification system. Previously, journalists and public figures could receive a blue verification checkmark, authenticating their identity. Musk terminated this practice, allowing anyone to acquire a blue checkmark by subscribing to a monthly fee, without identity verification.

Has there been any change in content moderation on X?

Yes, Elon Musk has dismantled the team that was responsible for content moderation on the platform. He has also temporarily suspended accounts of journalists and appears to have restricted or reduced access to links from major media outlets like The New York Times.

More about Platform Update

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10 comments

FreeSpeechFred October 5, 2023 - 9:19 pm

What’s up with killing off the moderation team? Are we just letting anything fly now? Seems risky.

Reply
PolicyNerd October 5, 2023 - 11:00 pm

EU’s already on them for misinformation and now this? Does X even care about being a reliable platform anymore?

Reply
OldSchoolOllie October 5, 2023 - 11:43 pm

Back in my day, we read newspapers and we knew what we were getting into. This just adds more confusion.

Reply
SarahM October 6, 2023 - 12:19 am

Whoa, didn’t see this coming from X. Changing the whole headline thing is huge. how are people gonna know what they’re clicking?

Reply
VerifiedVic October 6, 2023 - 12:46 am

So I paid for that blue checkmark and now it means nothing? Musk’s really messing with the platform’s integrity.

Reply
TechGuru89 October 6, 2023 - 12:51 am

Man, I get that Musk wants to ‘improve aesthetics,’ but this seems like a bad move. Where’s the real content?

Reply
CasualCarl October 6, 2023 - 1:39 am

Honestly don’t get why they’d remove headlines. I mean whats the point? Just to make it look pretty?

Reply
GreenTechie October 6, 2023 - 5:03 am

First he tries to colonize Mars and now he’s changing how we consume news? Musk really needs to stick to one planet at a time.

Reply
CryptoQueen October 6, 2023 - 7:18 am

If X wants to remain relevant they gotta think these changes through. This feels so rushed and poorly planned.

Reply
JournalistJane October 6, 2023 - 3:08 pm

Great, as if it wasn’t already hard enough for journos to get traffic. Now nobody knows what they’re clicking. thanks a lot, Musk.

Reply

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