Twitter has admitted that it has been “experimenting” with adding tweets to users’ timelines from people they haven’t followed – and that the plan will now be rolled out across the social network.
Trevor O’Brien, Director of Product Management at Twitter, revealed that people will now see unexpected tweets appearing in their timelines, and they won’t just be promoted messages from advertisers.
“There are times when you might miss out on Tweets we think you’d enjoy,” O’Brien wrote in a blog post. “To help you keep up with what’s happening, we’ve been testing ways to include these Tweets in your timeline — ones we think you’ll find interesting or entertaining.”
We’re testing & exploring ways to include Tweets in your timeline we think you'll find interesting or entertaining: https://t.co/K9zqg5nTg0— Twitter (@Twitter) October 17, 2014
@twitter We already have a way of doing that - it's called "Following People"— Yunas (@Yunas_Jet) October 17, 2014
.@twitter You don't know me. Don't pretend to.— Tiffani (@SoundCheckMama) October 17, 2014
O’Brien’s argument is that, actually, Twitter does “know” its users: “Testing indicated that most people enjoy seeing Tweets from accounts they may not follow, based on signals such as activity from accounts you do follow, the popularity of the Tweets, and how people in your network interact with them. These experiments now inform the timeline you see today,” he wrote.
“Some timeline experiments never make it to 100% of users. The ones that do aim to make the experience more interesting and relevant. As the timeline evolves, we will continue to show you Tweets you care about when they matter most.”
Reactions posted on the social network suggests this latest ‘experiment’ might be a step too far.