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Twitter rolls out timeline change showing 'important tweets' first

Published 10/02/2016

Twitter is introducing algorithmic timelines - doing away with showing updates in chronological order
Twitter is introducing algorithmic timelines - doing away with showing updates in chronological order

Twitter is rolling out a new feature that will see "important tweets" posted at the top of user's timelines when they log into the social network.

Later last week Twitter chief executive Jack Dorsey denied the service would introduce an algorithm which would show tweets out of chronological order.

The reports prompted a huge backlash with millions tweeting #RIPTwitter.

On Wednesday, Twitter senior engineer Mike Jahr introduced a new feature allowing users to catch-up on tweets they missed while away.

He said that those who used the feature tended to tweet and retweet more often.

While it remains optional, the feature will soon be made default on all accounts - but it can be switched off.

The new timeline is essentially an expansion of the "while you were away" feature introduced a year ago.

In a post announcing the new feature, Mr Jahr said: "You flip on the feature in your settings; then when you open Twitter after being away for a while, the Tweets you're most likely to care about will appear at the top of your timeline – still recent and in reverse chronological order.

"The rest of the Tweets will be displayed right underneath, also in reverse chronological order, as always. At any point, just pull-to-refresh to see all new Tweets at the top in the live, up-to-the-second experience you already know and love."

He added: "We've already seen that people who use this new feature tend to retweet and tweet more, creating more live commentary and conversations, which is great for everyone.

"To check it out now, just go into the timeline section of your settings and choose 'Show me the best Tweets first'. We'll be listening to your feedback and making it even better over time.

"Then we'll be turning on the feature for you in coming weeks — look out for a notification in your timeline. We love it and think you will too. If you don't, send your thoughts our way, and you can easily turn it off in settings.

"We think this is a great way to get even more out of Twitter and we're excited for you to experience it. Let us know what you think."

Despite Twitter's 260million users, the company is nowhere close to generating a profit and has had to introduced numerous features in an attempt to boost income.

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