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Get Ready to See Tweets from People You Don’t Follow on Twitter

by Todd Haselton | August 20, 2014August 20, 2014 10:00 am PST

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Save for ads, sponsored posts and retweets, your Twitter newsfeed consists of content that you’ve curated yourself. It’s built on photos, news and updates from the people you’ve chosen to follow and the messages those people send and promote. That’s all about to change, according to Twitter.

The company recently updated its Help Center with an explanation of what’s about to happen to your timeline — and it’s not all good news. Instead of only seeing posts from the people you follow, you’ll soon see posts from strangers, too. “When we identify a Tweet, an account to follow, or other content that’s popular or relevant, we may add it to your timeline,” Twitter’s Help Center now says. “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.”

It’s a bizarre change of policy in our eyes and one that pulls away from what Twitter’s best at: providing information you care about. Will an algorithm actually be better at choosing what you care about than you will be?

Look, we get that social networks like Facebook and Twitter are trying to become more user friendly, but do we really need a social network picking what it thinks is best for us? I guess we’ll see.

Twitter Quartz

Todd Haselton

Todd Haselton has been writing professionally since 2006 during his undergraduate days at Lehigh University. He started out as an intern with...