X, the social media platform formerly known as Twitter, is bringing back news headlines in user posts. It appears that the aesthetics, which owner Elon Musk talked about while initiating the change, aren’t so important after all.
The headlines were cut from news stories posted on X nearly three months ago after Musk made his bizarre move to hide them.
Back in October, Musk said it would make posts look better. He tweeted at the time: “This is coming from me directly. Will greatly improve the aesthetics.”
While it was speculated that the initiative was an attempt by Musk to get users to spend more time on X, it was also a reflection of his hostility towards news organizations, and for months, news article links on X have retained just the lead image from the story and the name of a source domain.
However, thousands of users soon started complaining that getting rid of headlines made it difficult for them to gauge what the news stories were about.
Unsurprisingly, in late 2023, Musk himself indicated X was about to backtrack from the October decision and said that the platform would “overlay the title in the upper portion of the image of a URL card.”
Now the change appears to have been reversed – users can post links, and headline text will appear on the bottom left of the image in a small font. To be fair, that’s not where Musk initially planned for the headlines to be placed, but he’s not commenting on the reversal so far.
Longer headlines of roughly 75 characters or more are cut off with ellipses but expand in length when users click on posts as opposed to looking at them from a timeline. The change is not visible yet worldwide, though.
For Musk, this is child’s play anyhow – X is in larger trouble. According to Fidelity, an investment fund, the platform has lost 71% of its value since the billionaire took over the site.
Currently, Fidelity estimates the value of X at around $12.5 billion, while Musk acquired Twitter for $44 billion in October 2022 and renamed it in July 2023. Many large companies have halted their advertising spending on X after Musk initiated quite a few controversial changes on the platform.
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