Changes to one of the world’s biggest social network’s algorithms are plaguing media and news organisations in delivering news content to their followers.
Amendments to Twitter’s policies, coupled with new goals by the social networks, created a change in the distribution of content, which has since placed a further burden on disseminating news content.
Earlier this year, Twitter severed access to its API, which previously allowed access for third-party apps to create a new dashboard for users to schedule tweets and manage their accounts, among other ad hoc features not offered by these platforms.
Popular third-party apps like Hootsuite and Echobox, which were widely used by media and news organisations to disseminate content across social networks, simultaneously lost access to Twitter’s API, rendering them ineffective for use on the platform, with Twitter only acknowledging this in a tweet in January.
Most recently, Twitter announced its “new era of transparency’’ by sharing the source code that powers the platform and how its algorithm works.
“Twitter aims to deliver you the best of what’s happening in the world right now. This requires a recommendation algorithm to distil the roughly 500 million tweets posted daily down to a handful of top tweets that ultimately show up on your device’s For You timeline,’’ Twitter said in a detailed post on its official blog, alongside other information, including how tweets are shared across timelines and heuristics, filters, and product features.
Losing access to Twitter’s API has also posed an inconvenience to those who rely on these applications, such as journalists who use them to post stories and send alerts and companies who use them to manage social media marketing.
While third-party apps are heavily relied upon by news organisations to post news at the time of publishing on their website, newspapers or other platforms – as well as scheduling, posting and planning news feeds for followers – the loss of Twitter’s API access also affects third-party monitoring tool platforms that can track growth and engagement.
Despite this, according to statistics revealed by the microblog last year, up to 85% of users use the platform at least once a day to keep abreast of current affairs.
‘’Whether it’s politics, world and local news, entertainment, sports, technology, or health and wellness, Twitter has become home to some of the most relevant conversations about news and current events happening around the world,’’ Twitter said.
Some have speculated that Twitter decided on this because third-party clients don’t show ads and may be perceived as syphoning off already declining ad revenue from the company.
On Monday, Twitter’s blue bird icon was replaced with a meme, the head of the Shiba Inu dog representing cryptocurrency Dogecoin.
Elon Musk, who bought Twitter for $44 billion in October, has invested heavily in the cryptocurrency, with the price of Dogecoin increasing by more than 15% shortly after the move.