When you share links on X, formally known as Twitter, it used to display ‘Twitter Cards.’ But as of last week, X headlines are gone.
Elon Musk kept his promise to kill X Headlines — formerly known as “Twitter cards” — last week.
The Associated Press called it a step toward “widening a rift with news media.” You can certainly argue Musk has not been particularly friendly to traditional media outlets. That’s despite the fact that those outlets provide a great deal of value to his platform through their content and the reaction (positive and negative) that it amasses.
It will likely mean that some media outlets will change how they post to the platform. In the Twitter card days, since the headline would show up with the post, you could post additional information in the text of the post. Now, that will less likely make sense because the headline doesn’t appear to support that additional information. So information that might better inform someone before they click the link might not be there.
That’s a case of X hurting itself. But it certainly wouldn’t be the first time Musk has seemingly
Musk himself, The Verge reported, said he thinks it will make posts look better. I can imagine that it will at least make one’s timeline seem slightly more streamlined. But looking better? That’s definitely a matter of opinon.
Here’s how X headlines used to work…and how they work now
I had to take to Photoshop to build a representation of how the old X headlines — or Twitter cards — used to look. Naturally, when X decided to remove them, they also disappeared for past posts. They even vanished, from what I could tell, from previous embedded posts.
In the old days, if you shared a link as part of your post, depending on how you did it, it would include an image from that post, the title (or headline) and the URL that clicking the photo or headline would take you to.
Here’s a sample of what you would see:
Keep in mind, that’s not exactly it because I did have to rebuild it. The gray shading on the headline part is a bit darker than it actually used to be. But you could see a delineation between the text of the post and the actual link. That headline sometimes included the meta description line as well, although I sometimes saw that it did not.
In any case, the old Twitter Card made two things clear: Clicking would take you to a link and you’d know what that link was.
Yes, some people, depending on the platform they used to post, could alter the title of the page at times. But for the most part, you saw what you were getting.
But without X Headlines, here’s what that same post looks like now:
Yes, the post takes up less vertical space. The headline and meta description are gone. Slightly more of the image gets cropped out.
You can see there’s a link there — but you only get the URL, not the title of the page or article. So that means if someone wants to take you to some kind of propaganda — or worse — you won’t know until you get there. A URL can, after all, be deceiving.
Is it an improvement for the timeline?
You’ll have to decide whether you think the removal of X Headlines makes the platform look better to the eye.
You’ll also have to decide if you feel more or less confident clicking an image instead of a more detailed link. I think that’s the far bigger issue with this change.
I want to know where I’m going and what I should expect to see before I click. Isn’t that something all users want?