This article was published on June 18, 2015

Twitter’s Project Lightning will showcase human-curated trending tweets

Twitter’s Project Lightning will showcase human-curated trending tweets

Twitter wants to be your go-to platform for news and trends. A report by BuzzFeed details the upcoming Project Lightning, a hub that will curate Tweets on the platform centered around events, news and trends.

It’s not just a side-feature either; Twitter hopes Lightning will change the way people think about its social network.

On the mobile app, a lightning icon will show up front-and-center on the home row. Click on it, and you’re taken to a screen listing the curated events.

This time around however, it’s not an algorithm doing the heavy lifting. Twitter’s put together a team of editors to “select what it thinks are the best and most relevant tweets and package them into a collection.” The company is developing an editorial policy to assure content is reviewed before being included in Lightning.

Tweets, photos and videos are then presented in a full-screen format you can swipe through. Twitter is emphasizing speed: photos should load immediately, and video will play automatically. And if you had any doubts, Lightning collections will include Vine and Periscope content as well.

BuzzFeed's rendering of what the service will look like
Credit: BuzzFeed
BuzzFeed’s rendering of what photos will look like on Lightning

If you want to catch up on news, you can click to scroll through an event. A scrub bar along the bottom will indicate your progress, while a lightning bolt icon will indicate when you’ve reached the most recent item.

After years of stagnating user growth, Lightning is the latest move by the company to try to reel-in new users.

In April, it unveiled a redesigned homepage to showcase trending topics to logged-out users or people without an account. According to the report, Lightning events will be featured instead, making Twitter a curated news service of sorts.

If you are logged in, however, you’ll be able to follow trends. That means you can get updates about an event like the Oscars on your timeline, without having to follow the celebrities who are tweeting about it. Your account will automatically unfollow the event a while after it finishes.

The editorial team expects to post seven to ten events a day, but plans to eventually open up the tool so publications can create their own Lightning events centered around certain niche demographics.

The project isn’t due to to reach the masses for a few months, and like any news curation service, Lightning is sure to bring up ethical questions about what content make it through and what doesn’t. Still, it’s the clearest indication how Twitter views the future of its platform.

Read next: Google’s redesigned Trends page now ranks popular searches in real-time

Twitter’s Top Secret Project Lightning Revealed [BuzzFeed]

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