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Twitter’s New Feature Could Ruin The Social Network

by Jacob Kleinman | August 5, 2014August 5, 2014 10:00 pm PST

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It seems like Twitter is always experimenting with new features, but a recent test spotted by one user has us worried the company may have gone too far. The social network appears to be sneaking tweets into your timeline even if you don’t follow the account as long as one of your friends follows it.

So why is this a big deal? It goes against the basic concept of Twitter, which is that you only see updates from other accounts you follow or retweeted posts in your timeline. Of course, there are already promoted tweets, but this seems to occupy an uncomfortable grey zone in between regular tweet and paid ads. Will Twitter take money from brands to promote tweets like this in the future? Will the new feature only show tweets from big companies or from small accounts as well? There’s no way to know.

At the same time, we understand why Twitter would test this kind of feature. For anyone new to the service deciding who to follow can be tricky, and dropping unsolicited tweets into the timeline might help those people find interesting accounts. Hopefully we won’t see this new feature catch on, though it might be worth including as an opt-in option for anyone launching a new Twitter account in the future.


Jacob Kleinman

Jacob Kleinman has been working as a journalist online and in print since he arrived at Wesleyan University in 2007. After graduating, he took a...