Twitter (X) Strips Headlines From News Links

X Twitter logo Image credit X ex

Elon Musk removes headlines from news links, as the Anti-Defamation League welcomed X’s stated intent to address antisemitism

The platform known as X (aka Twitter) has now been carried out a change that could impact news publishers going forward.

Twitter has now stopped showing headlines and links for news articles posted on the site, after Elon Musk had personally ordered the change in August.

Following those reports about the planned change, Musk tweeted: “This is coming from me directly. Will greatly improve the esthetics.”

twitter X logo
Image credit: Elon Musk/X/Twitter

Headline removal

Elon Musk is known to be deeply hostile to news outlets, and has previously carried out changes aimed at reporters and journalists.

When Musk sacked 80 percent of Twitter’s staff, he also sacked the entire press relations (PR) team at Twitter.

Following this, when journalists email Twitter seeking a comment or confirmation, they typically receive a poop emoji in reply.

In August, Twitter briefly appeared to put a five-second delay on loading links to news sites and rivals to X including Reuters, the New York Times, Instagram and Blue Sky.

Musk also controversially suspended journalists from the platform, removed verification from many media figures, and attempted his own journalistic venture with a project called the ‘Twitter Files’, in which he had “reporters” publish “investigations” directly on the platform.

Musk said in an interview with the BBC that he had essentially ended that project in April 2023.

This week users of the platform reported that news posts now only display graphics of individual news articles, with no headlines or links visible, making it confusing to understand.

If users want to visit the page, they must click the image, after the change was made on Wednesday for iOS and desktop users.

Anti-Defamation League advertising

Meanwhile the Anti-Defamation League has said it will resume spending on X after a temporary pause.

New York-based Anti-Defamation League (ADL) is an international Jewish non-governmental organisation that specialises in civil rights law and combats antisemitism and extremism.

The non-profit had recommended that brand advertisers pause their campaigns over claims the platform is antisemitic, a plea that Musk said was responsible for the company’s steep advertising revenue decline.

Musk in September went so far as to threaten a lawsuit against the group and tweeted multiple times that the ADL was trying to kill his platform

“As we have noted in our research over the past several years, X – along with other social media platforms – has a serious issue with antisemites and other extremists using these platforms to push their hateful ideas and, in some cases, bully Jewish and other users,” ADL stated on Wednesday.

“We appreciate X’s stated intent over the last few weeks to address antisemitism and hate on the platform,” it added. “This has been useful; more needs to be done; and, as we have with other companies, in the spirit of collaboration, we are hopeful that we can continue to engage with X on this important matter.”

Then it confirmed it has resumed advertising on the platform.

“To be clear, any allegation that ADL has somehow orchestrated a boycott of X or caused billions of dollars of losses to the company or is ‘pulling the strings’ for other advertisers is false,” the ADL said, refuting once again Elon Musk’s claim made last month.

“Indeed, we ourselves were advertising on the platform until the anti-ADL attacks began a few weeks ago,” it said. “We now are preparing to do so again to bring our important message on fighting hate to X and its users.”