Twitter is developing AI technology that would effectively curate information in users timelines, which should function similar to a follow button but instead of a person, for topics that pique your interests.
With the millions of people flocking on Twitter daily, it is easy to be overwhelmed by the abundance of information that people let out to the world. This week, Twitter announced that they have 139 million active daily users, and the number was increasing since its 115 million active users a year ago.
Those numbers signify that there are also millions of people trying to talk about specific topics that they are interested about, which makes it challenging to look through and find relevant content about issues that you want to learn more about.
Twitter previously set up the mute feature, which prevents specific accounts from appearing in other users’ timeline through chosen keywords. However, this is only effective from blocking out certain points of conversation and does so little to help you follow specific topics.
Hence, Twitter recognizes the need to help users curate their timelines and fill it up with topics and conversations that interest them. Last Tuesday, the company said that it would be emploring the aid of intuitive machine learning technology to filter out the noise and allow users to follow specific topics and see high-quality posts.
“Our desire is to be a little bit more ambitious about the level of change that we introduce into the product,” Twitter product lead Kayvon Beykpour said during a press event at the company’s San Francisco headquarters.
“The key thing here is to make it as easy to follow an interest as it is to follow an account,” said Sriram Krishnan, Twitter’s senior director of product management.
In other words, users will soon be able to organize and sift through Twitter’s web of hashtags and handle it in a smarter way. The company plans to allow users to have timelines devoted to beauty or politically inclined content that will not clash with each other.
After users follow a topic they care about, the new feature will show them a feed of relevant tweets from numerous accounts curated by Twitter’s algorithms.
Furthermore, the feature is focused on helping users find new accounts and communities into which they can dive deeper and create meaningful relationships that will develop a more intrinsic online community.
For now, the feature is only functional for sports topics, and Twitter is testing the feature on Android devices.
Other than that, Twitter is exploring by letting users set up separate lists within the app to follow their individual interests. It should seem similar to YouTube’s subscription page that only shows the content that you have selected purposefully.
In a demonstration, a product manager mixed keywords and some individual accounts to create a new list adjacent to the home feed that is accessible via swiping. “We think that altogether this will make Twitter a more powerful interest platform,” said Wally Gurzynski, a product manager at the company.
In contrast to the follow-topics feature, Twitter says that it will also be introducing a function that does exactly the opposite. People can block out entire topics from appearing in their timelines.
Users can keep certain tweets out of their timeline, like tweets talking about a certain TV show that they haven’t watched yet but are going appearing in their feed — so as not getting spoiled.
Other plans in work include searchable direct messages, the ability to re-order the photos in a tweet after you have attached them to a new post, and plans to add support for Apple’s Live Photos.
As for an edit button, don’t expect it anytime soon. Beykpour said he thinks that there’s a way for the company to let users correct typos without essentially allowing users to correct tweets that include malicious or controversial content, which is a risk, especially when false information is sent out to the world, and some will try to make a workaround that activity.
“It’s a feature I think that we should build at some point,” Beykpour said. “It’s not anywhere near the top of our priority list.”
The new follow feature, on the other hand, is being tested now and will be released to all users by the end of the year.