Completing the process of Facebook and Twitter doing battle by copying all of each other’s features, a report by Buzzfeed says that Twitter could debut its “algorithmic” feed as early as next week. Since it launched, the microblogging service has always displayed tweets in a reverse chronological order. Users have recently spotted tests where tweets were reshuffled out of order, similar to Facebook’s method of sorting posts, and executives have hinted at just such a change for years.
The feature, which Twitter has been experimenting with for some time, uses algorithms to determine the order of tweets rather than the strict reverse chronological order. The company had previously confirmed to Mashable that it was testing such a feature, though it wasn’t clear if or when it would roll it out more broadly.
A Twitter spokesperson declined to comment on the report Friday but Twitter executives have previously suggested they were considering tweaking the format of timelines. CEO Jack Dorsey said the company would “continue to question our reverse chronological timeline” during Twitter’s Q2 earnings call last year. The company’s former product chief Kevin Weil also hinted at such a change.
“Great product teams are always challenging their own beliefs… changing away from purely reverse chronological timeline to a world where we try and show you the most interesting and most relevant, most important thing that’s happening in your world the moment you open Twitter — that’s an example of questioning your core beliefs,” he said during a conference in November.
While a Twitter spokesperson declined to comment on the report, we know it is looking for ways to spark user growth, and the assumption that this could make the site easier to read might push the feature forward. Of course, longtime users and information addicts are worried we’ll lose the current sorting option. At this point, it seems that all we can hope for is that it’s not the default, but even that assumes the current sorting option won’t be snatched away, either all at once or gradually the way Facebook did it.
Dorsey has made other big changes too, like launching Twitter Moments, allowing longer direct messages, displaying inline Periscope videos, and showing popular tweets toeveryone who visits Twitter.com from a smartphone. Oh, and he’s probably going to blow up the 140-character limit, too. Twitter hasn’t yet confirmed the pending timeline changes, but we’ve reached out for comment.