According to information obtained by Fortune and confirmed by Elon Musk, X plans to remove headlines and descriptions generated when you share a link in a post.
This is coming from me directly. Will greatly improve the esthetics.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) August 22, 2023
Future X posts with links are reported to display an image without added text, providing no context except for a URL overlay.
Clicking on the image will direct users to the full article on the publisher’s site.
The change, confirmed by Musk, is primarily designed to shrink the height of tweets to fit more posts on screen.
Screenshot from X, August 2023
The Future Of Twitter Cards
The Twitter Cards format, which includes an image, headline, and a brief article description, adds context to links shared on the platform when tweets were limited to 140 characters.
Content publishers could rely on tools, such as third-party WordPress plugins, to customize the information appearing on social media when readers share an article link.
Screenshot from X, August 2023
By swapping Twitter Cards functionality to an image URL overlay, anyone who shares an external link in an X post must add additional text to have a similarly engaging format.
Alternatively, publishers will have to update the format of featured images to include enough text to entice X users to click through.
X And Content Creators
The upcoming change in how links to external websites are displayed on X comes after Musk encouraged writers and journalists to share content directly on X.
If you’re a journalist who wants more freedom to write and a higher income, then publish directly on this platform!
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) August 21, 2023
It isn’t the first time he has stated his preference for individual viewpoints over those expressed by publications.
I bounce around WSJ, NYT, BBC, Bloomberg, WaPo & twitter generally.
Better to follow individual journalists than publications, as there is a wide range of quality.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) November 21, 2021
I find it more helpful to read/follow individual journalists, rather than publications.
Any given publication is going to have wide range of views, albeit vast majority of stories about any subject are negative, perhaps reflecting innate human biases.
Citizen journalism FTW!
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) April 27, 2021
Musk’s seemingly contradictory decisions continue shaping X’s platform.
In addition to reinstating banned users, X plans to revamp the mute and block system that many users rely on to reduce what they consider to be unwanted content.
Our users’ safety on X is our number one priority. And we’re building something better than the current state of block and mute. Please keep the feedback coming. https://t.co/ekIvyOhRqQ
— Linda Yaccarino (@lindayaX) August 19, 2023
Within the same month, X also announced new brand safety controls and partnerships for advertisers. It also made its second round of ad revenue payments to individual influencers subscribed to Twitter Blue.
Impact On Marketers
This ambitious move by X is the latest in a series of dramatic shifts for the platform, reflecting how Musk’s personal preferences have transformed the network formerly known as Twitter.
For those that promote content on X, the pending change to how links are displayed will force marketers to update their tactics to continue driving traffic from X to external websites.
Featured image: Leefuji/Shutterstock