Speaking at a New York conference on Wednesday, Noto said that the way that Twitter has worked for its eight years of existence – showing users the newest tweets from everyone they follow – “isn’t the most relevant experience for a user,” since important tweets might be buried at the bottom, or missed entirely.
“Putting that content in front of the person at that moment in time is a way to organize that content better,” Noto said.
According to the Wall Street Journal, his comments were made in the context of Twitter’s attempts to improve its search service, which is crucial if users are to find content which is buried without it being forced to the top of their timelines.
Whether or not Twitter decides to take the plunge into a fully-curated feed, the company has made steps toward that change in recent months. In August, it introduced a feature which placed into the stream tweets favourited by people a user follows, to the dismay of many. It took weeks for the company’s CEO, Dick Costolo, to even explain fully how the new feature works.
“You get favorites [in your feed] when you pull-to-refresh 2x and we have no new tweets from follows both times,” he said in reply to to a user’s complaint.
While Twitter may be motivated by the significantly larger userbase and market cap of Facebook, which uses a complex algorithm to decide which content to show to users, some wonder if it’s targeting the wrong goal.
“I’d think a filtered feed is better for new & novice users, but, last weekend, casual FB users were telling me how much they hate News Feed,” writes the Atlantic’s associate editor Robinson Meyer.
“I wonder if the seeming mass-acceptance of filtered, algorithmic News Feed is actually a mass number of users thinking it’s ~chronological,” he adds – a suspicion backed by a recent MIT study, which suggested that fully two thirds of Facebook users were unaware how much content they weren’t seeing due to the site’s curation algorithm.
“Often, people became very upset when [they were shown that] posts from family members and loved ones were hidden,” the study’s authors wrote.
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