Twitter takes on TikTok: Elon Musk’s platform launches a ‘For You’ page that mixes tweets from people you follow with tweets it thinks you might like
- Twitter CEO has borrowed the name of a TikTok feature for a new tab on Twitter
- From today, users are directed to the ‘For You’ tab when they open the app
- The For You tab shows tweets all out of order and boosted by an algorithm
- But users can swipe their screen to see tweets in reverse chronological order
It seems Twitter CEO Elon Musk has taken inspiration from rival TikTok for his latest revamp of the app, which gives tweets promoted by an algorithm more prominence.
From today, Twitter users on iOS will automatically land on a new tab on the homepage called ‘For You’ when they open the app.
For You – the same name as a feature on TikTok – shows tweets from accounts users do and don’t follow, all out of order and boosted by an algorithm.
Twitter users on iOS can also now swipe their phone screen to switch between For You and the alternative tab option, called ‘Following’.
It looks like Twitter owner Elon Musk has taken inspiration from rival TikTok for his latest revamp of the app, which gives tweets promoted by an algorithm more prominence (file photo)
From today, Twitter users on iOS will automatically land on the ‘For You’ tab on the homepage when they open the app, although they can swipe the screen to opt for the ‘Following’ tab, which shows tweets the old-fashioned way – from accounts followed in reverse chronological order, with those most-recently posted at the top
TikTok’s ‘For You’ tab
Twitter rival TikTok is a hugely popular video-sharing app owned by Chinese company ByteDance.
When TikTok users open the app, they are presented with the For You feed – a stream of recommended videos.
For You is powered by an algorithm that makes personalized recommendations based on several metrics, including viewing behavior and interactions with videos.
Twitter has taken the name ‘For You’ for its algorithmic feed of tweets, which is now the default when iOS users open the app.
The ‘Following’ tab shows tweets from accounts users follow in reverse chronological order, with those most recently posted at the top.
Both of these tab options were available previously under different names, but users had to click on a star icon in the corner of the app.
However, on Twitter for iOS this star icon can no longer be seen, and instead, users can just swipe to toggle between For You and Following.
For You is now the default tab, meaning it will automatically be selected when users open the app.
This will still happen even if they were on the Following tab when they last closed the app.
The official @TwitterSupport account announced the changes on Wednesday, but so far they are only being rolled out to iOS, with the update to Android and web to follow soon.
‘Starting today on iOS, swipe between tabs to see Tweets recommended “For You” or tweets from the accounts you’re “Following”,’ it said.
The “For You” and “Following” tabs replace “Home” and “Latest” and will be pinned to the top of your timeline so you can easily switch between them.
‘Swipe to switch timelines instead of tapping the ✨ icon.’
Both of the ‘For You’ and ‘Following’ tab options were available previously under different names – ‘Home’ (left) and ‘Latest Tweets’ (right), respectively
Twitter CEO Elon Musk – who bought the social media site for $44 billion back in October – previously hinted that this change would be coming.
Last month he said Twitter’s timeline ‘should allow for an easy sideways swipe between top, latest, trending and topics that you follow’.
Ultimately, the change marks yet another move away from seeing social media posts in the order that they were posted – typical of social media platforms around a decade ago before algorithms started to take over.
Responding to the change, one Twitter user said: ‘when did twitter become tiktok???’
Another posted: ‘Ah, doing what he does best: appropriating other people’s ideas/work. Typical @elonmusk.’
Twitter owner and CEO Elon Musk (pictured) bought the social media site for $44 billion back in October
It follows some Twitter accounts having their profile pictures changed from a circle to a square shape with rounded corners.
These are being added to verified business accounts on the platform as another way to differentiate them along with the new system of colored checkmarks.
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TikTok is now explaining ‘For You’: New feature allows users to see why videos are boosted
In a bid to be more ‘transparent’, TikTok has introduced a new tool that explains why specific videos are being recommended to users.
The tool, available on the ‘For You’ feed on the TikTok app, brings up a window entitled ‘Why you’re seeing this video’.
It then gives a list of reasons, which can include ‘this video is popular in your region’ or ‘this video was recently posted by an account you follow’.
TikTok, which is owned by the Chinese company Bytedance, says the new feature brings ‘more context’ and ‘meaningful transparency’ for users.
The platform uses an algorithm to promote videos to users on the For You page from people they don’t even follow – but this has proven controversial for promoting dangerous content.
For example, a recent Daily Mail investigation found teenagers are being bombarded with self-harm and suicide content on TikTok within minutes of joining the platform.