Twitter’s new experimental feature is annoying a lot of users

Twitter is experimenting with a new feature that is downright blasphemous to experienced users. Some users are seeing a few tweets in their timelines that have merely been favorited by accounts they follow. That’s a massive change: Twitter has fundamentally only shown tweets and retweets posted by followed accounts in timelines to date. The experiment is particularly concerning for some because the favorite has always been rather mysterious. Despite its name, many do not use the favorite in the same way as a Facebook “Like.” Some use it as a simple acknowledgment of receiving a tweet or as a way of saying “thanks.” It can also be a simple way of saying that you found something funny. Others use it as a type of bookmarking system.

Twitter is back in experimental mode, but its latest test is annoying people. A sizable number of users are seeing tweets favorited by others in their timeline, just like retweets. They are also getting notifications when others follow someone new. This was first brought to my attention a couple of weeks ago, but Twitter appears to have widened the experiment to cover more users over the past few days. TNW’s own editor-in-chief Martin Bryant, Re/Code’s Peter Kafka and prominent US investor Hunter Walk are among those seeing these notifications. Twitter’s recent experiments have been fairly innocuous — it removed Bing translations, hinted at commerce services, and began embedding tweets on the Web — but these new notifications are upsetting users because they are confusing and seemingly unnecessary. Retweeting is a core part of Twitter. People already know how to share items that they think will interest others. Favorites have emerged as something else altogether — a way to acknowledge receiving a message, say thanks, save a link for reading later (using services like IFTTT), and more. You can see a list of tweets a user has favorited from their profile, but favoriting is inherently a private action. That idea is turned on its head with this new experiment.


What do you think?

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Written by Carl Durrek

Carl is a gaming fanatic, forever stuck on Reddit and all-around lover of food.

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