Twitter’s new algorithmic timeline was heralded as the end of the service by many, but when it launched, it amounted to nothing more than the natural evolution of the prior ‘while you were away’ feature.
The algorithm now appears to be enabled by default across the social network, with users reporting that the company started turning it on it across the service as early as March 15.
The feed’s documentation was updated in February at launch adding a paragraph saying that the behavior must be switched off, rather than on:
Tweets you are likely to care about most will show up first in your timeline. We choose them based on accounts you interact with most, Tweets you engage with, and much more. You can find instructions for how to turn off this behavior here.
The change to opt-in comes just a month after the feature was first launched on February 10, when Twitter said that it would require opting-in to see it, but noted at the time that it would become default in “the coming weeks.”
Some users received a notification on mobile advising them of the change, while others we talked to claimed they hadn’t seen anything about it so far.
Twitter's new "show me the best tweets first" algorithm is here & it's the default setting.
You don't opt-in, you OPT-OUT. Go to Settings.
— Nina L. Diamond (@ninatypewriter) March 15, 2016
Got dreaded @twitter algorithm alert tonight. Changed settings to UNCHECK "show me best tweets first." Should be opt-in instead of opt-out!
— West Seattle Blog (@westseattleblog) March 15, 2016
The 10 seconds where my @twitter was all out of order before I could opt out of their stupid algorithm were truly terrifying.
— Brian Daly (@briandalynj) March 10, 2016
Now that it’s default, some people aren’t happy about the change, taking to the service to express their frustration – but interestingly, those complaints are among only a handful of people that actually seem to have noticed.
I’m a fan of the new algorithm and have had it enabled since launch, but it can be frustrating because the first time you visit the page it shows you recommended tweets, but if you go away and come back by accident, they’re all in a different order.
I’d love if Twitter could make them available as a separate digest as well, somewhere within the app, so I could always take a look at the top recommendations, given I’m constantly missing important news.
Regardless, Twitter’s new algorithm is here to stay now that it’s enabled by default. If you want to disable it, you can head to your settings easily enough and be rid of it forever if it’s not your cup of tea.
Update: Twitter says that “As we said in our announcement, we’re rolling out our timeline improvements to everyone over time. People can still choose to opt out of it in their settings.”