Twitter Introducing ‘Topics’ Feature That Lets Users Follow Subjects of Interest

Twitter is set to roll out a new feature called "Topics" that allows users to follow conversations about subjects of interest, similar to how they'd follow an account.


According to an official Twitter blog post, Topic suggestions will soon start appearing in user timelines and in search, based on what they tend to look for and already follow on the social media platform.

When a user follows a topic, like a music band, sports team, or celebrity, they'll see tweets from a broad range of accounts that share the same interest.


Previously, all of the work was on you to figure out the best way to keep up with what's happening by following certain accounts, searching for it, or looking in the Explore tab for the latest. Now, you have the option of seeing the most relevant and interesting Tweets about what you care about with a single tap, and the conversation will come to you.
A Topics option already appears in the mobile app's sidebar menu, but currently just shows an introductory screen for the feature. When the feature rolls out in full, it will list the topics you've followed.


Future features will include the ability to preview the feed content of a topic before choosing to follow it, the ability to add topics to lists, and the ability to mute topics.

Twitter says that Topic suggestions will start showing up in timelines and in searches from November 13, with a worldwide rollout taking place over the coming months.

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Instagram to Start Hiding ‘Likes’ in the US This Week

Instagram is to begin testing hiding content "likes" in the United States this week. The change will first be rolled out to a limited number of accounts in the U.S., and users of those accounts will still be able to see how many likes they got on their own posts.

The plan was announced at WIRED25 by head of Instagram, Adam Mosseri, who also took to Twitter to share the news.
"It's about young people," Mosseri said during the Wired panel. "The idea is to try to 'depressurize' Instagram, make it less of a competition and give people more space to focus on connecting with people that they love, things that inspire them."

"It means we're going to put a 15-year-old kid's interests before a public speaker's interest," he added. "When we look at the world of public content, we're going to put people in that world before organizations and corporations."
Hiding likes would fundamentally change the way Instagram works, as liking photos and garnering likes is one of the platform's main features.


The Facebook-owned, photo-based platform has conducted similar trials in Australia, Brazil, Canada, Ireland, Italy, Japan, and New Zealand. The removal of Instagram likes follows other recent user-focused changes, like the addition of a timer that shows users how long they've spent in the app, and the removal of the Instagram Activities feed.

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey on Saturday praised Instagram's decision to bring its like-hiding experiments to the U.S., retweeting Mosseri's Friday tweet and adding the comment, "Great step."

Dorsey has previously questioned the wisdom of Twitter's own use of likes. At last year's WIRED25 summit, the Twitter chief said: "Right now we have a big Like button with a heart on it and we’re incentivizing people to want it to go up [to get more followers]. Is that the right thing? Versus contributing to the public conversation or a healthy conversation? How do we incentive healthy conversation?"

Twitter has since played down reports that it plans to kill off the like button, but has acknowledged that it continues to look at the function's use and how it fits in with the platform's aim to promote "healthy conversation."


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Twitter Issues iOS App Update to Fix Buggy Auto-Refresh Timeline Behavior

Twitter has pushed out a point release for its official iPhone and iPad app after numerous reports of buggy auto-refresh behavior began appearing on social media.

A number of users who updated to version 8.1 of the app, released last week, said that their Twitter timeline was refreshing randomly and making them lose track of what they were reading.

It's unclear what's been causing the jumpy auto-scrolling behavior – presumably whatever changes were made to the auto-refresh function were supposed to happen invisibly and update the top of the timeline so that scrolling up to see new tweets would be seamless.


Regardless, Twitter acknowledged the "frustrating" issue on Monday and asked users for patience while it looked into the problem.

This morning, the company released a fix to its iOS app in the form of version 8.1.5, so make sure you visit the App Store to update if you've been affected by the issue. Direct Link

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Twitter for Mac Now Available From Mac App Store

When Apple announced macOS Catalina at the Worldwide Developers Conference and unveiled its new Catalyst feature that would allow iPad apps to be easily ported over to the Mac, Twitter was one of the upcoming apps shown off.

‌macOS Catalina‌ launched on Monday, and as of today, the Twitter for Mac app is now available. ‌macOS Catalina‌ is required to download and use the new app, as it is built using Catalina technologies.


Twitter discontinued its prior Twitter for Mac client more than a year ago, which wasn't a popular decision with Twitter users. At the time, Twitter said that it was ending support for the app to focus on a Twitter experience consistent across platforms, and recommended Mac users use Twitter on the web.

Because Apple's Catalyst initiative makes it easier for apps designed for iOS to be brought to the Mac, Twitter has decided to reintroduce its Mac app, which shares similarities with the Twitter for ‌iPad‌ app.

Design wise, it's in line with the iPhone and ‌iPad‌ apps, but Twitter in June said that it has all of the features that users expect from a Mac app such as multiple windows, window resizing, drag and drop, dark mode, keyboard shortcuts, notifications, and more.

Twitter for Mac can be downloaded from the Mac App Store for free. [Direct Link]

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Twitter ‘Unintentionally’ Used Some Customer Data Provided for Account Security for Advertising Purposes

Twitter's support account today announced that Twitter used some customer email addresses and phone numbers that were provided for account security for advertising purposes, which Twitter says was done "unintentionally."

More specifically, email addresses and phone numbers were used in Twitter's Tailored Audiences and Partner Audiences advertising systems. Tailored Audiences is a feature that's designed to let advertisers target ads to customers based on the advertiser's marketing lists, while Partner Audiences is similar.

According to Twitter, when an advertiser uploaded a marketing list, it "may have matched" people on Twitter to their list based on the email or phone number the Twitter account holder provided for security purposes.


Twitter says that it "cannot say with certainty" how many people were affected, and the company has issued an apology. "We're very sorry this happened and are taking steps to make sure we don't make a mistake like this again," reads a help document.

Personal data was not provided externally with partners or other third parties, and as of September 17, the issue has been fixed and phone numbers and email addresses collected for account security are no longer being used for advertising.

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Twitter Expands Direct Message Search to All Users

Twitter today announced that its Direct Message (DM) search feature is now available to all users, allowing anyone to search through the DMs they've received.

The new search bar is located above the the DM interface in the Twitter app or on the web and it can be used to locate specific conversations and key words.


DM search first debuted in August, when Twitter said that it was testing out the feature. Some users have had the search bar since then as part of the test, but as of today, it's available for everyone.


Twitter can be downloaded from the App Store for free. [Direct Link]

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Twitter Now Lets You Pin and Swipe Between Up to Five Lists

Twitter today implemented a feature that's designed to allow lists of Twitter users to be pinned to the Home screen and swiped between, allowing for easy access to multiple customizable timelines.

Twitter users are now able to add five lists to the Twitter app, swiping between them on the Home screen.


With this new feature, Twitter users can do things like group coworkers, friends, and family into different lists, and then with a swipe, view just tweets from each individual list.

Lists have long been used as alternative timelines by Twitter users, allowing people to follow accounts without having to add them to the main Twitter timeline, but the new feature makes it easier to do so.


As Engadget points out, this is a feature that Twitter has been testing since the summer and has finally rolled out to all users.

Twitter has also changed the design of list pages, introducing header images and making it easier to see list members and who is subscribed to a given list. Lists can still be private or public, and there's still an option to follow public lists from other users.

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Twitter Rolls Out New ‘Hide Replies’ Feature to Users in U.S. and Japan

Twitter today rolled out its new "Hide Replies" feature in the U.S. and Japan, providing Twitter users with more control over the replies that are visible following a tweet.

The idea behind the feature is to give people more control over the conversations they start on the social media platform, so they can hide replies that are offensive and the hidden reply won't show up to others as a response to the original tweet.

The company has been experimenting the Hide Replies feature since June, and says it saw "a lot of positive trends" during its initial test in Canada.

According to Twitter, people with access to the feature mostly hide replies that they think are irrelevant, abusive or unintelligible. It also found that people were more likely to reconsider their interactions when their tweet was hidden.

To mitigate concerns that hiding someone's reply could be misunderstood and potentially lead to confusion or frustration, Twitter says it will ask the user if they want to also block that account.

As TechCrunch pointed out back in April, Hide Replies has the potential to be controversial because the original person who tweets will be able to control which replies are visible in a conversation thread. However, Twitter is more interested its potential for good, as noted in its blog post:
These are positive and heartening results: the feature helped people have better conversations, and was a useful tool against replies that deterred from the person’s original intent.

We're interested to see if these trends continue, and if new ones emerge, as we expand our test to Japan and the US. People in these markets use Twitter in many unique ways, and we’re excited to see how they might use this new tool.
The news follows several other features that have recently been trialed or rolled out on the social media platform, all with the aim of handing over more control to users and creating a "healthier service" by cutting down on abuse and harassment.

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Twitter Testing Feature That Lets You Follow Interests, Support for Live Photos Coming

Twitter this afternoon unveiled several new features that are in the works for the social network, sharing the news at an event for press that was attended by The Verge.

Twitter will soon allow users to follow interests in addition to people, which will let users see tweets about topics of their choosing such as sports teams, celebrities, TV shows, and more.

The feature, in testing on Android devices, will feature topics curated with Twitter. Individual tweets surfaced for people will be surfaced through machine learning.

Twitter is also exploring a option that would let users set up separate lists in the Twitter app to follow individual interests, which Twitter hopes will make the social network a "more powerful interest platform."

Other features are in the works too, including searchable direct messages, an option to re-order photos that are included with a tweet, and support for Live Photos. There's no specific word yet on when we can expect to see these features introduced on iOS devices.

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Twitter Testing Notifications for New Replies to a Specific Tweet

Twitter is currently trialing a new feature with iOS and Android users that lets them receive notifications of replies to individual tweets.

As things are, the Twitter mobile app can ping you with alerts for all the tweets posted by an individual account, but the new feature in testing adds an extra level of granular control by notifying you only of replies to a particular tweet.

The option is designed to make following the development of a conversation related to a specific tweet more straightforward, as this can sometimes be difficult if you don't already follow the original poster.



The news follows several other features that have recently been trialed or rolled out on the social media platform, all with the aim of handing over more control to users and creating a "healthier service" by cutting down on abuse and harassment.

They include a snooze button to temporarily silence notifications from the app, and a Hide Replies feature that lets users collapse replies to their tweets. The latter is designed to allow users to moderate conversations by keeping them on topic and hiding trolls where necessary.

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