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Elon Musk finally strips headlines from news stories on X


Elon Musk has finally made good on a bizarre threat this summer to strip headlines from news organizations’ posts on X, formerly known as Twitter.

The change began on Wednesday — two months after Musk puzzled some X users with a declaration that he was switching up how news links appear on users’ timelines to “greatly improve the esthetics.”

Until this week, when news organizations shared a link to an article on X, the post automatically populated with the story’s lead image and headline below it.

As of late Wednesday, however, X began displaying only the main photo associated with an article. To see the story’s headline, users are now required to click on the lead image.

X users weren’t thrilled about the switch-up.

“Esthetics are one thing, knowing what you’re going to read to want to click on it in the first place is another,” one user by the name of Danika said.

“I write. I have a website that I write on, it all belongs to me & I built it all. The things I write about… not easy to summarize in a photo, to make people click on my posts with just a photo,” Danika added.


On Wednesday, X stripped headlines from news organizations’ posts on the platform — a move Elon Musk first announced back in August.
REUTERS

Though Musk has pitched the move as bettering the platform’s overall look, users questioned whether stripping posts of headlines would actually do that, and theorized that the change simply bolsters Musk’s desire to make X “the everything app.”

Just this week, Musk shared that X’s “algorithm tries to optimize time spent on X, so links don’t get as much attention, because there is less time spent if people click away.”

“Best thing is to post content in long form on this platform,” he added.

Last week, when Musk livestreamed from the US border in Eagle Pass, Texas, the X chief tweeted: “Please encourage more citizen journalism! You can do live video easily from your phone. More on-the-ground reporting from regular citizens will change the world.”

However, some users weren’t convinced that ridding headlines from news stories is the answer and argued that articles could become even more misleading without the context a headline provides.

“Ruins the flow and is actually less functional. There’s a reason why the headline and picture have gone together till now,” one user said.

“There has to be a better way than just the image with no context,” another replied.

“This is a step backward,” another added.

Representatives for X did not immediately respond to The Post’s request for comment.


As part of the switch-up, users only see the main photo associated with an article. To see the story's headline, users have to click on the lead image.
As part of the switch-up, users only see the main photo associated with an article. To see the story’s headline, users have to click on the lead image.

The change is just the latest in a series of strange shifts at the social media site since Musk took the helm in October.

Aside from ditching the Twitter name and iconic blue-bird logo back in July, Musk rolled out a premium service that has users coughing up $8 per month to keep their blue checkmarks.

Businesses that want to keep the status can do so for $1,000 monthly, plus an additional $50 per employee affiliate account.

Just last month, Musk revealed that he’s mulling a subscription service where all of X’s 360 million-plus users would have to pay to use the platform.

The world’s richest man revealed the planned paywall during a chat with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in which he was asked how he intends to deal with the large armies of bots that amplify hate speech.

“The single most important reason we’re moving to have a small monthly payment for use of the X system is it’s the only way I can think of to combat vast armies of bots,” Musk replied casually.

He explained that adding a subscription to access the social media site would make it difficult for bots to create accounts because they would each need to register a new credit card.

Musk did not specify how much money he would charge each user, but said it would be “lower-tier pricing” than the $8-per-month X charges its premium subscribers.

“We’re wanting it to be just a small amount of money,” he said.

The money-making moves come as the social media site reportedly continues to hemorrhage cash, with Musk announcing earlier this month that X’s ad revenue was down 60%.

He blamed the challenges from the Anti-Defamation League for the loss of revenue after the nonprofit reported a spike in hate speech on X following the reinstatement of banned accounts there.

Musk tweeted that the ADL was “trying to kill this platform by falsely accusing it & me of being anti-Semitic.”





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