X (formerly known as Twitter) is removing headlines and descriptions on articles shared on the platform in what the site’s owner, Elon Musk, believes will “greatly improve the esthetics.” The platform will instead show the article’s leading image and the URL link. Users will now have to manually add the headline and a brief description of articles they want to share. The change is currently in testing on the iOS app.
The change was initially reported in August by Fortune and is being pushed by Elon Musk. The new move will help reduce the height of posts allowing more posts to fit on the timeline. Musk believes it will help curb clickbait according to sources close to the matter. The platform’s owner has already confirmed the change is coming and will be no surprise if it rolls out widely to Android and the web as well.
Musk has been at war with the mainstream media for a while now stating that he almost “never reads legacy media anymore.” Links on X get less attention as the algorithm tries to optimize time spent on X. Musk explains in a post, “There is less time spent if people click away.” Additionally, this move may be a part of his plan to increase user engagement on the platform as he encourages “citizen journalism” on X through long-form content.
Content creators and publishers will have to create distinctive “thumbnails” similar to YouTube for their posts on X if and when the change comes into effect.
While the new change may be annoying to some, some users have applauded the move citing that it will help reduce misinformation and clickbait behavior.