Elon Musk-owned X, formerly Twitter, is planning to roll out a new way to display news links without any headline or description. The social network will display just the link and the header image in a post, according to a report by Fortune.
Musk confirmed the move in a post on Monday and said it was coming "directly" from him. The change would "greatly improve the aesthetics," he said.
This is coming from me directly. Will greatly improve the esthetics.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) August 22, 2023
Currently, a Twitter card for a news article or a blog post shows the headline and summary text (just on the web) along with the header image in the preview card of a post. However, if the proposed change comes through, X will only show the image with a link in a post. That means if a publication or a blog doesn't post any accompanying text with the link, users will only see the link and the image for that article.
A source told Fortune that the update aims to reduce the height of a post to fit more posts on one screen. They also said that Musk thinks that removing headlines from the preview card will reduce clickbait. However, with no preview card, publications or blogs can simply write any text inciting users to click on the link.
Incidentally, Musk also recently said journalists vying for more freedom and higher income should directly publish on X.
If you’re a journalist who wants more freedom to write and a higher income, then publish directly on this platform!
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) August 21, 2023
Earlier this month, The Agence France-Presse (AFP) news agency sued X in France over a “clear refusal” to discuss remuneration sharing of its news content on the platform. While it remains to be seen whether the AFP will prevail in its copyright law challenge to X under France's neighboring right for news, the social network does appear to be becoming less friendly toward displaying news links -- which may be no accident.
Over the weekend, a bug on X broke links and images posted using the platform's native service before December 2014. The company later acknowledged the glitch through its support account on the platform and said the issue would be fully resolved in the coming days.
X is also in the process of replacing the functionality of blocking users with a revamped mute feature that will essentially let users follow someone without the ability to interact with them.