X, the platform formerly known as Twitter, changed the way links and new posts appear, removing the headlines and text that were previously displayed alongside images.
Linked news articles now display only the article’s lead image with a small link to the outlet’s main web address in the bottom-left corner in order to distinguish from stand-alone images.
X removes headlines
Elon Musk, owner of X, verified in August that he planned to remove headlines and text from news links and stated that this change came “directly” from him in order to improve aesthetics.
Musk has been involved in repeated spars with news organizations about his management of the platform which has become an essential tool for journalists and the media.
Last December he banned several journalists from the platform following them reporting on an account that posted updates on the location of his private jet. Musk also sparked controversy in April following him labeling NPR as “state-affiliated” and “government funded” media.
This change in formatting happened after Musk proposed to publishers that they post their content in long form on X instead of using a link.
“Our 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,” Musk said in a post on Tuesday. “Best thing is to post content in long form on this platform.”
Musk then criticized legacy news outlets while encouraging users to engage in “citizen journalism.”
“I almost never read legacy news anymore,” he said Tuesday. “What’s the point of reading 1000 words about something that was already posted on X several days ago?”
“Citizen journalism is the path to a better future!” Musk stated the next day. “I strongly encourage people around the world to post news about events as they’re happening, in both text & video.”
However, users on X are reacting negatively to the format change. Journalists argued that the update will allow the spread of misinformation to intensify and security experts state that the change creates a new danger by aiding hackers and scammers.
Users have even highlighted these issues by purposely spreading falsehoods alongside links.
One user even shared a link to a CNBC article featuring a photograph of Musk with the caption, “Since you can’t see the headline, Elon Musk was arrested after being found in the street in a ketamine induced fugue state.”
When in reality the article is discussing his removal of headlines from the platform.