Twitter is looking to expand its reach as a news platform with a new feature that it recently launched on all major platforms. Buzzfeed News reports that the company will now highlight news stories tweeted by people in your network and display the tweets mentioning the story beneath the link.
For the past couple of years, Twitter has worked to position itself as news platform rather than simply a micro-blogging platform. In April of 2016, it changed its App Store category from “social networking” to “news.” It has also begun airing live newscasts and highlighting tweets from journalists and media organizations in the “explore” tab. Twitter is also hoping to become a destination for breaking news stories by curating tweets related to current events and major news stories.
That curation process is hardly flawless, however. Earlier this month, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey publicly apologized to conservative activist Candace Owens after Twitter labeled her “far right.” Owens currently works for Turning Point USA, a conservative activist organization, but has denied any association with far-right organizations.
Hi Candace. I want to apologize for our labeling you “far right.” Team completed a full review of how this was published and why we corrected far too late (12 hrs after). There was a clear break in our curation process and understanding, and we’re fixing. Thanks for calling out.
— jack (@jack) April 27, 2018
Regardless of these issues, Twitter’s push into the news sector makes sense from a business and marketing perspective. Despite its social currency, Twitter has struggled to retain advertisers and to forge a unique identity beyond a place to follow your favorite celebrities. By focusing on news and creating an atmosphere of discussion based around current events, Twitter is able to tap into the energy that makes the platform so enticing to many users.
The push into the news sector is only one of the ways in which Twitter has tried to attract new users. One of its more controversial actions has been to double the character limit on tweets in hopes of keeping users more engaged. The company did see growth in 2018, but not among U.S. users.