In a remarkable transformation, the platform formerly known as Twitter, now rebranded as 'X,' has ushered in a significant visual shift by bidding adieu to the familiar headlines for links posted on the site. The driving force behind this decision? None other than the site's owner, Elon Musk, who believes it will enhance the overall look and feel of posts.
Effective Wednesday, this groundbreaking change has already been rolled out to iOS and desktop users. Links shared on X will now appear as a captivating image, accompanied by subtle text in the left-hand corner that highlights the domain of the link. To access the linked content, users simply need to click on the image. It's a subtle yet transformative alteration that adds a touch of modernity to the platform.
It's important to note that this overhaul seems to exempt advertisement links, suggesting a deliberate focus on improving the user experience for regular content. The decision to eliminate headlines had been in the works since August, a development that gained attention after reports from Fortune first hinted at the planned change. Elon Musk himself weighed in, taking to Twitter to declare, "This is coming from me directly. Will greatly improve the aesthetics."
However, this isn't the first time X has raised eyebrows since Musk took the reins nearly a year ago. While it may not have been a primary source of traffic for many news outlets, X has remained a staple for media organizations and reporters alike in their pursuit of news sharing and gathering. Recent data, however, indicates a decline in traffic from Twitter since the ownership transition. Notably, NPR and the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) have scaled back their usage of the platform. ABC attributed its decision to toxic interactions on X and found better engagement on alternative platforms. In response, Musk accused the organization of censorship.
In a move that garnered attention in August, X briefly imposed a five-second delay on loading links to news sites and competitors, including Reuters, the New York Times, Instagram, and Blue Sky. Musk subsequently revealed his preference for long-form content on the platform, optimizing the X algorithm against external links to keep users engaged.
The Financial Times recently reported that X's CEO, Linda Yaccarino, is slated to meet with the banks that financed Musk's $13 billion acquisition of Twitter last year. The aim? To outline a strategic plan for rejuvenating the company, which has witnessed an exodus of advertisers.
Last month, Musk made headlines with a threat to sue the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) over lost revenue, alleging that advertisers had been pressured to withdraw ads due to the advocacy group's actions. The ADL, in a statement, reaffirmed its concerns about antisemitism and extremism on X but acknowledged the platform's recent commitment to address these issues. The ADL categorically denied orchestrating a boycott or causing financial losses for the company. In response, Musk expressed gratitude for the ADL's support of advertising on X and its investment in the platform.