Social media platform X, formerly known as Twitter, is poised to rework how news links appear on the platform, the latest change spearheaded by owner Elon Musk to impact news publishers on the site.
The news was first reported by Fortune on Monday and confirmed in a post from Musk later in the day: “This is coming from me directly. Will greatly improve the esthetics [sic],” he wrote. The platform will no longer display headlines and other text from news links and show only the main image, limiting a user’s ability to see the contents before clicking.
Currently, news links come up on the timeline of users as “cards” along with an image, source address and an abridged headline. Such a packaging helps draw clicks and helps publishers gain readers.
The move may be an attempt to drive people to sign up for X’s premium service. With the shortened links, users could be inclined to include more text along with their posts. The premium service allows a single post of up to 25,000 characters.
With the changes, Musk is pitching X as a more relevant platform for content creators. Premium subscribers can now post longer videos, their posts are shown higher up and they also receive a cut of ad sales.
Musk has made a number of abrupt changes to Twitter since he took over as owner in October 2022, many of which have negatively impacted the news media that make up a large portion of its user base. The billionaire has suspended journalists from the platform, removed verification from many media figures, and attempted to launch his own journalistic endeavors with a project called the Twitter Files, in which he had reporters publish “investigations” directly on the platform.
“If you’re a journalist who wants more freedom to write and a higher income, then publish directly on this platform!” he posted this week. After taking over the platform formerly known as Twitter, Musk largely dissolved its public relations department and stopped responding to media requests from reporters. Previously, requests for comment were answered with a poop emoji. When contacted for comment on Tuesday, X responded with an automated reply.