Recently, you may have seen some tweets in your Twitter timeline that confused you. Why? Because the tweets are coming from people that you don’t actively follow. This may have pissed you off, and if so, you wouldn’t be alone.
If you fall into that camp, I have some bad news – it looks like this Twitter ‘test’ is here to stay.
Over the past week or so, Twitter users began to see two types of largely unwanted tweets in their timelines. First, there’s the tweet from someone followed by someone you follow. A second-hand tweet, if you will. Second, there’s the tweet that’s been favorited by someone you follow, which is showing up just like a retweet in timelines.
Here’s what the two new types of timeline filler look like:
Twitter filling my feed with stuff I didn't ask for – stuff other people follow and fav. pic.twitter.com/IVOViGF1QW
— Peter Kafka (@pkafka) August 17, 2014
Thought to be a test, these new types of tweets in the timeline are likely permanent features. First spotted by Quartz, Twitter has added new language to its help page section What’s a Twitter timeline? that specifically allows for this new content in your feed.
Here’s what Twitter has always said about timelines:
When you sign in to Twitter, you’ll land on your home timeline.
– Your home timeline displays a stream of Tweets from accounts you have chosen to follow on Twitter.
– You may also see content such as promoted Tweets or Retweets in your timeline.
– The newest updates are at the top. You can reply, Retweet, or favorite a Tweet from within the timeline.
– Clicking anywhere on a Tweet in your timeline expands the Tweet, so you can see photos, videos, and other information related to that Tweet.
And here’s what Twitter just added:
Additionally, when we identify a Tweet, an account to follow, or other content that’s popular or relevant, we may add it to your timeline. This means you will sometimes see Tweets from accounts you don’t follow. We select each Tweet using a variety of signals, including how popular it is and how people in your network are interacting with it. Our goal is to make your home timeline even more relevant and interesting.
The good news – it appears Twitter is only interested in unearthing “popular” content from accounts you don’t follow. Still, this doesn’t completely assuage fears that Twitter is going to expose your embarrassing favoriting spree.
Say hello to the new Twitter timeline. It’s official.
Image via Wikimedia Commons