Is Twitter Becoming Too Much Like Facebook?

Twitter have made another change to their platform! The algorithm timeline is here. But is it a good thing? With this new update, Twitter will put the best tweets at the top of your timeline, a big change from the chronological order we’re all used too.

So how do you get the new algorithm timeline?

  • On a smartphone: Profile > Settings > Accounts (select the chosen account) > Timeline Personalisation > then turn ‘Show me the best Tweets first’ on.
  • On a desktop: Click on your avi (just left of the “Tweet” button in the top right-hand corner) > Settings > Accounts, under the content section tick the box for “Show me the best Tweets first”

But is it needed? You can already create lists where you can add people you follow and don’t follow to a stream and only see their tweets on a separate timeline. For instance, If I had a business event coming up and only wanted to see tweets from the companies that are attending, I could add them to a list which will enable me to see only their tweets.

Twitter have not revealed how they have determined which tweets are the best tweets for your timeline. This intrigues me. How will they do it? I have thought of a couple of ways. The first one would be to put the tweets with the most retweets and likes at the top, whether these tweets are from verified users or not. Another possibility, which I think would be the best, is to put tweets from user’s profiles that you have viewed the most at the top or tweets from a user that you have retweeted or liked the most. So, say I supported a certain football club. I would view their profile a lot and engage with their tweets, so it would be relevant if their tweets appeared at the top of my timeline.

I do worry that Twitter is gradually becoming more and more like Facebook, which is something I hugely dislike. The header style is already similar (as you can see), Facebook has also introduced hashtags, and now the new algorithm feature brings them even closer together.

I wonder how the similarities will develop and if these two social media giants begin to mirror each other too much before the developers start to take a step possibly too far?

My biggest fear is that Twitter will abandon the 140-character limit on tweets, this personally will drive me away, and I’m sure it would for others too. In the midst of the moaning, there are some features that Twitter has introduced that I am a big fan of, such as enabling people to direct message you even if you don’t follow them. Another development I love is being able to have group direct messages. This feature has been welcomed by millions since being launched last year however I will leave that for another day.

Overall I feel Twitter is removing the features that made it unique and special which attracted thousands of users like myself many years ago. I will not be using the new algorithm feature for two reasons. 1) Because to me, it will make Twitter feel more like Facebook and 2) It’s just not something I like; I would rather see the latest tweets on my timeline rather than what someone tweeted hours before. I know innovation is good, but is this too far?

Let us know what you think in the comments section down below.


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