Twitter has unveiled a bunch of significant changes to how news coverage is distributed or curated through its platform, particularly breaking news and live events.
These updates, some of which have already rolled out, are supposed to make discovering news much easier and more straightforward.
There's the redesigned Explore tab, for starters, which now organizes items by topic instead of content type. This way, stories are lumped together regardless if they feature photos, videos, or plain articles. Twitter says it's now also experimenting with topic tabs to make it easier for users to find the latest and most relevant news.
Explore also surfaces curated pages dedicated to news stories, including breaking news and live events, which should guide users into finding more of what's happening around the world. Some of these changes will also bleed over user home timelines to help them avoid going down Twitter rabbit holes too often. It might also help them discover new accounts and communities they might find interesting.
Personalized News And Events Notifications
Twitter says it's also trying to send people breaking news notifications based on their personal interests, taking into account what they tweet about and who they're following. These notifications are only voluntary, though.
A New Look For Moments
Moments, Twitter's special section for discovering world news, also gets a visual upgrade. It now supports vertical scrolling, something Twitter says users have been requesting for quite some time now. Vertical scrolls yield more user engagement, Twitter says. Some Moments, however, will remain horizontally arranged as Twitter rolls out the change.
Twitter is also rolling out multiple timelines for some U.S. Moments to help users see all the best tweets surrounding a story — one might be a collection of "recaps," another might be a timeline containing all the latest tweets about an event, or there could also be one featuring the best commentary on a particular subject.
The changes outlined above were the result of Twitter's "blended" approach when it comes to delivering news stories, says director of curation Joanna Geary. Much of them are branch-outs of curation efforts and policies from Moments and are also largely inspired by the platform's human- and algorithm-based news feed curation. Geary says Twitter doesn't want to fall into the same trap of other competitors, where falsified news are often a problem.
"We take that very, very seriously." Then again, Twitter just wants to bring the news, not necessarily define which stories are legitimate or newsworthy.
"We're not a newsroom," says Geary.
Some of the updates won't be available for weeks, but Twitter has already rolled out a number of them just in time for World Cup festivities.