Twitter board approves ‘poison pill’ provision to ward off Elon Musk takeover

Twitter has just adopted a poison pill defense against a potential hostile takeover bid from Elon Musk, who recently made a $ 43 billion offer to buy 100% of the company's stock.

The plan, which was unanimously approved by Twitter's board of directors, is designed to make it far more difficult to purchase more than 15% of the company's stock according to the press release Twitter published announcing the move.

So-called poison pills provisions (also known as shareholder-rights plans) are legally designed to make it prohibitively expensive for any one shareholder to accumulate more than a set percentage of a company's stock.

“The Rights Plan is intended to enable all shareholders to realize the full value of their investment in Twitter,” the company said. “The Rights Plan will reduce the likelihood that any entity, person, or group gains control of Twitter through open market accumulation without paying all shareholders an appropriate control premium or without providing the Board sufficient time to make informed judgments and take actions that are in the best interests of shareholders.”

The plan is triggered when any shareholder tries to acquire 15% or more of the company's outstanding stock shares without the approval of the company's board of directors. If such an attempt is made, then the current shareholders would have the option of buying additional shares at a discounted price and the entity triggering the plan would have to buy any additional shares beyond the 15% threshold at a premium.

Musk offered to pay $ 54.20 a share in his unsolicited takeover offer with the stated intention of taking the company private if his offer was accepted. Musk has been an outspoken critic of the way Twitter has been run, so a takeover by Musk would almost certainly make substantial changes to the popular social media platform. 


Opinion: Elon Musk buying Twitter would be an absolute disaster

Currently, the debate over “free speech” on Twitter is more or less locked into a stalemate, with every side claiming that they are being censored by the company. To be clear, Twitter is a private enterprise, not a government entity. The company is free to set its own policies that users must agree to in order to use the platform, so long as it complies with applicable laws.

There is no law saying you can't be banned from Twitter for what you post on the platform, and it is left to the company to decide what posts violate their terms of use. Whether that is how it should be is a different matter, but for now, that is how it is, and this is what is apparently upsetting Musk, who has criticized the company for censoring users.

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Considering the often toxic interactions users can experience on Twitter (and the internet more broadly), lifting all restrictions on what users can post wouldn't lead to a flourishing of positive, constructive debate. We've run this experiment already, we know the outcome. 

The internet isn't the liberating, free-speech frontier that early web pioneers like Musk believe that it should or could be if it were just unshackled from some Big Brother authority, whether government or corporate. It has proven itself to be a brutal, digital colosseum where the most socially vulnerable users are fed to the lions for the cynical thrill of a small subset of its users who, like parodies of The Joker, claim to want to watch the world burn but who are really only interested in burning their perceived enemies at the stake from the safety of internet anonymity.

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Like all social media companies, Twitter has a complicated track record in this regard, but it is also one of the most responsive to these challenges. Pretending that these challenges can be overcome by individual users through gumption or growing thicker skin is easy for someone like Musk, who generally basks in the sycophantic adoration of his fans. He's among the richest handful of people in the world, and nothing insolates you from the devastating emotional effects of online harassment like money.

Musk wants to be liberated from the restrictions Twitter places on its users, because of course he does. No one that rich ever wants someone to tell them what they can and cannot do, but those rules aren't in place to protect people like Musk. They're there to protect the rest of us, and especially women; ethnic, sexual, and religious minorities; and other vulnerable people who have already been irreparably harmed by the free-for-all of online social media mobs with the current restrictions in place.

Holding a town hall to discuss the important matters of the day can't happen if there is someone in the crowd shouting obscenities, racial slurs, and making threats against everyone around them. If Musk took over Twitter with the intention of preventing “censorship”, it would be the end of Twitter.

It's already walking a tightrope between being a contentious public forum and a hellsite. The only people Musk would liberate would be the trolls, and the mass exodus from the platform would be almost instantaneous, triggering a fatal cycle of us normies bailing for other platforms, which simply makes the voices of the trolls that much louder, forcing even more people off the platform. Then there's the Twitter employees themselves, who would likely leave in droves, driving the quality of the site into a tailspin, further eroding its user base. 

If Musk's goal is to destroy Twitter, I can't think of a better way for him to do it.

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Twitter board approves ‘poison pill’ provision to ward off Elon Musk takeover

Twitter has just adopted a poison pill defense against a potential hostile takeover bid from Elon Musk, who recently made a $ 43 billion offer to buy 100% of the company's stock.

The plan, which was unanimously approved by Twitter's board of directors, is designed to make it far more difficult to purchase more than 15% of the company's stock according to the press release Twitter published announcing the move.

So-called poison pills provisions (also known as shareholder-rights plans) are legally designed to make it prohibitively expensive for any one shareholder to accumulate more than a set percentage of a company's stock.

“The Rights Plan is intended to enable all shareholders to realize the full value of their investment in Twitter,” the company said. “The Rights Plan will reduce the likelihood that any entity, person, or group gains control of Twitter through open market accumulation without paying all shareholders an appropriate control premium or without providing the Board sufficient time to make informed judgments and take actions that are in the best interests of shareholders.”

The plan is triggered when any shareholder tries to acquire 15% or more of the company's outstanding stock shares without the approval of the company's board of directors. If such an attempt is made, then the current shareholders would have the option of buying additional shares at a discounted price and the entity triggering the plan would have to buy any additional shares beyond the 15% threshold at a premium.

Musk offered to pay $ 54.20 a share in his unsolicited takeover offer with the stated intention of taking the company private if his offer was accepted. Musk has been an outspoken critic of the way Twitter has been run, so a takeover by Musk would almost certainly make substantial changes to the popular social media platform. 


Opinion: Elon Musk buying Twitter would be an absolute disaster

Currently, the debate over “free speech” on Twitter is more or less locked into a stalemate, with every side claiming that they are being censored by the company. To be clear, Twitter is a private enterprise, not a government entity. The company is free to set its own policies that users must agree to in order to use the platform, so long as it complies with applicable laws.

There is no law saying you can't be banned from Twitter for what you post on the platform, and it is left to the company to decide what posts violate their terms of use. Whether that is how it should be is a different matter, but for now, that is how it is, and this is what is apparently upsetting Musk, who has criticized the company for censoring users.

See more

Considering the often toxic interactions users can experience on Twitter (and the internet more broadly), lifting all restrictions on what users can post wouldn't lead to a flourishing of positive, constructive debate. We've run this experiment already, we know the outcome. 

The internet isn't the liberating, free-speech frontier that early web pioneers like Musk believe that it should or could be if it were just unshackled from some Big Brother authority, whether government or corporate. It has proven itself to be a brutal, digital colosseum where the most socially vulnerable users are fed to the lions for the cynical thrill of a small subset of its users who, like parodies of The Joker, claim to want to watch the world burn but who are really only interested in burning their perceived enemies at the stake from the safety of internet anonymity.

See more

Like all social media companies, Twitter has a complicated track record in this regard, but it is also one of the most responsive to these challenges. Pretending that these challenges can be overcome by individual users through gumption or growing thicker skin is easy for someone like Musk, who generally basks in the sycophantic adoration of his fans. He's among the richest handful of people in the world, and nothing insolates you from the devastating emotional effects of online harassment like money.

Musk wants to be liberated from the restrictions Twitter places on its users, because of course he does. No one that rich ever wants someone to tell them what they can and cannot do, but those rules aren't in place to protect people like Musk. They're there to protect the rest of us, and especially women; ethnic, sexual, and religious minorities; and other vulnerable people who have already been irreparably harmed by the free-for-all of online social media mobs with the current restrictions in place.

Holding a town hall to discuss the important matters of the day can't happen if there is someone in the crowd shouting obscenities, racial slurs, and making threats against everyone around them. If Musk took over Twitter with the intention of preventing “censorship”, it would be the end of Twitter.

It's already walking a tightrope between being a contentious public forum and a hellsite. The only people Musk would liberate would be the trolls, and the mass exodus from the platform would be almost instantaneous, triggering a fatal cycle of us normies bailing for other platforms, which simply makes the voices of the trolls that much louder, forcing even more people off the platform. Then there's the Twitter employees themselves, who would likely leave in droves, driving the quality of the site into a tailspin, further eroding its user base. 

If Musk's goal is to destroy Twitter, I can't think of a better way for him to do it.

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Elon Musk owning Twitter is a terrible idea – and he probably knows it

Why does Elon Musk want to buy Twitter?

It's the question everyone is asking Thursday morning after the billionaire entrepreneur, Tesla CEO, and serial pot-stirrer made a $ 43 billion take it or leave it offer to the Twitter board.

“If it is not accepted, I would need to reconsider my position as a shareholder,” Musk said, according to the Wall Street Journal. That's tantamount to, Let me play as captain or I take my ball and go home.

In typical cheeky fashion, Musk tweeted about the potential deal with echos of The Godfather: “I made an offer”

But why is he doing this?

To understand, we need to rewind a bit. A few weeks ago, Musk started complaining about Twitter as not being a bastion of free speech and ran a poll.

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Musk was airing a common frustration among some Twitter users who complain they're shadow-banned for speaking their minds on the platform. While 70% of his respondents said, “No,” I saw the poll as a flawed exercise in self-selection. Musk's 84 million Twitter followers are often devotees to his particular brand of libertarian maverickism.

Twitter, which is not a government body but in fact a private company, has no compunction to follow the rules of free or balanced speech. Instead, as a private company, it has to protect its users from harm to both themselves and others. It has, as a private company, the right to remove people and their posts as they see fit (if they go outside the platform's published terms of use).

This is somewhat beside the point because I think Musk knows this but just lives to stir the pot and get people thinking – or maybe thinking like him.

He later pressed the point and insisted that Twitter's role as a public town square meant it had to adhere to free speech principles, lest it undermines democracy. 

Again, Twitter is not just a US platform. It operates around the world, even in places that do not support democracy. Musk knows this, but he has pressed on.

Eventually, Musk bought 9.4% of Twitter's shares, joined the board, and then unjoined it before he could, but basically won the right to have outsized influence and hinted he might go further.

Now we know his true intentions. Musk seeks to own and control Twitter outright.

But for what purpose?

What's next?

If Twitter's board accepts this Faustian bargain, it will see a significant portion of Twitter's workforce leave. Musk must know this, as well. Does he hope to replace a depleted knowledge workforce with like-minded Muskians?

Let's say he gets his way and takes ownership. How quickly will Musk acknowledge that Twitter is not in fact just a US-based town square and that using the Constitution as a template for a TOS cannot work for a private, globalized company?

Elon Musk runs Telsa around the world. He sells electric cars to people around the world. A huge chunk of his Twitter followers probably live outside the United States and may dream of living in a democracy where private companies are not beholden to state interests as they are in China.

What is Musk's game here?

I know what he's said in public, but Elon Musk is no dummy and he must know how this plays out. It does not end well for Twitter, but perhaps that's the point. This is just another feint in the game where Musk treats his billions like Monopoly money, sliding orange $ 500 notes from out under the board, throwing them on the table, and demanding Park Place when he really wants Boardwalk. Or maybe he does want them both… then what?

By the time you read this, Twitter may have already rejected Musks' offer, and Musk, as he is wont to do, may have sold off his shares and walked away.

Will he also walk away from Twitter? Probably, but expect him back in six months.

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It’s finally happening – Twitter is working on an edit button, but is this a good thing?

If you've been wishing to edit those tweets with spelling mistakes without having to delete them, Twitter has announced that it's working on an edit feature.

This feature request has become a meme in itself, with many users asking for this for years. If you use Twitter, you've most likely been in a situation where you've posted a tweet from the previous evening, and you notice that there's a missing letter or a missing comma that skews what you were trying to convey.

Twitter has confirmed that the feature will first arrive as a test for Twitter Blue users, which is its subscription service that brings benefits such as undoing a sent tweet after a short amount of time.

But while this sounds like good news for many, it may be an example of being careful what you wish for.


Analysis: This may hinder rather than help users

Other social platforms have had this feature for years. If you posted something on Facebook for example and it's missing a word, you can quickly edit the post and add the word back in.

Instagram and Tiktok also have similar features, but for Twitter, it's not as simple as adding an edit button.

Many users have wanted an easy method to edit a tweet without deleting it, especially if it's about a topic that's long since finished for example. But Twitter has a slippery slope with this, as many use the platform as a news feed and as a way of conversing with followers on certain subjects. Editing these tweets could make your input worse.

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But there are other dangers to this feature if it's not implemented right. Twitter's Head of Consumer Product, Jay Sullivan, rightly said during the announcement, that editing a tweet could alter a topic of conversation that could be sensitive to many, and could construe different meanings.

Editing tweets is not something that I've wanted Twitter to focus on – it's rather a bigger focus on curtailing abuse and spam accounts that have been more prevalent since the pandemic began in 2020.

But this feature could stay as a test, or as an exclusive feature of Twitter Blue. However, the announcement has excited many, so it now depends on whether the feature measures up to the wishes of its users, or if it's used to alter conversations for the worse.

Regardless of what happens, Twitter clearly has another challenge on its hands now that editing tweets are finally official.

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It’s finally happening – Twitter is working on an edit button, but is this a good thing?

If you've been wishing to edit those tweets with spelling mistakes without having to delete them, Twitter has announced that it's working on an edit feature.

This feature request has become a meme in itself, with many users asking for this for years. If you use Twitter, you've most likely been in a situation where you've posted a tweet from the previous evening, and you notice that there's a missing letter or a missing comma that skews what you were trying to convey.

Twitter has confirmed that the feature will first arrive as a test for Twitter Blue users, which is its subscription service that brings benefits such as undoing a sent tweet after a short amount of time.

But while this sounds like good news for many, it may be an example of being careful what you wish for.


Analysis: This may hinder rather than help users

Other social platforms have had this feature for years. If you posted something on Facebook for example and it's missing a word, you can quickly edit the post and add the word back in.

Instagram and Tiktok also have similar features, but for Twitter, it's not as simple as adding an edit button.

Many users have wanted an easy method to edit a tweet without deleting it, especially if it's about a topic that's long since finished for example. But Twitter has a slippery slope with this, as many use the platform as a news feed and as a way of conversing with followers on certain subjects. Editing these tweets could make your input worse.

See more

But there are other dangers to this feature if it's not implemented right. Twitter's Head of Consumer Product, Jay Sullivan, rightly said during the announcement, that editing a tweet could alter a topic of conversation that could be sensitive to many, and could construe different meanings.

Editing tweets is not something that I've wanted Twitter to focus on – it's rather a bigger focus on curtailing abuse and spam accounts that have been more prevalent since the pandemic began in 2020.

But this feature could stay as a test, or as an exclusive feature of Twitter Blue. However, the announcement has excited many, so it now depends on whether the feature measures up to the wishes of its users, or if it's used to alter conversations for the worse.

Regardless of what happens, Twitter clearly has another challenge on its hands now that editing tweets are finally official.

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Elon Musk now owns almost 10 percent of Twitter

Tesla CEO and tech business mogul Elon Musk now owns 9.2 percent of Twitter shares, according to a recent schedule 13G filing released by the SEC.

Bloomberg states this purchase was worth around $ 2.89 billion and Twitter’s value in the stock market went up 27 percent on Monday, April 4. Naturally, this begs the question why did Musk make this seemingly random purchase, and what does it do for the platform and its users at large?

Musk has yet to publicly state his reasoning for the purchase but looking at his recent Tweets and his history on Twitter may point to his intentions. After all, Elon Musk is one of the most followed accounts on the platform and has even gotten into trouble because of his behavior there.

Was it pl;anned?

A little over a week ago, Musk posted a poll on his account where he asked followers and users if Twitter adheres to the concept of free speech with over 70 percent of respondents saying ‘No.’ This poll doesn’t appear to have influenced his decision as he already made the filing for purchasing on March 14.

The day after that poll, the SpaceX founder stated that since Twitter is the “de factor public town square,’ its supposed failure to advocate free speech “undermines democracy.” He even pondered the need for another Twitter-like platform, which has been attempted in the past, but few can match up against the likes of this social media behemoth.

Musk is no stranger to criticizing the site, like the time he blasted Twitter for spending time and energy on enabling NFT profile pictures. He also posted a meme that depicted Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal as Joseph Stalin getting rid of a dissident in the form of former CEO Jack Dorsey.

Vocal criticism aside, that still leaves the question of what will happen to users unanswered.

A small piece

It’s not like Musk has total control over Twitter, but it’s difficult to believe that someone would buy almost 10 percent of the one largest social media platforms in the world and do nothing with it. So far, neither Elon Musk or Twitter have alluded to or pointed out any changes coming to the site.

In recent years, Twitter has been criticized for its content and how it polices itself. Some have said that Twitter doesn’t do enough to combat misinformation while others complain about censorship.

We’ve reached out to Elon Musk and Twitter for a comment and will update this post with their responses.

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iPhone 6 users can no longer access Twitter, and they’re not happy

The latest update to the Twitter app has killed off support for iOS 12, with the latest version of the app now requiring iOS 14 or later in order to function – and that means users of the iPhone 6, which can’t be updated beyond iOS 12, can no longer access all of Twitter’s features. 

While we can’t get hold of an iPhone 6 to see for ourselves, users across Twitter have been complaining about losing access to many features on their phones, following the update.

Without the option to upgrade beyond iOS 12, it’s plain to see why iPhone 6 users, along with owners of the iPad Air and 6th-generation iPod Touch, are a bit miffed about the Twitter app's latest requirement.

Users stuck on iOS 12 report that while they can still see tweets on their timeline, the rest of the app no longer functions correctly. 

Thankfully for users who are still clinging to their iPhone 6, it is not a completely lost cause, as it is still possible to use Twitter on the device, as the web client still functions without issue, but it’s hardly a perfect solution/it’s no substitute for the full app experience.


Analysis: a shocking twist that was a long time coming

Although the loss of full app functionality has come as a shock to many iPhone 6 users, the demise of Twitter on iOS 12 has been a long time coming, as the social media giant officially dropped support for the nearly four-year-old operating system in early 2021. 

Even after official support for the app stopped on iOS 12, iPhone 6 users were still able to enjoy the core functionality of the app, albeit without the new features of the latest versions. 

Looking at the numbers though, it’s no surprise that Twitter will have wanted to scuttle the older version of the app. According to Apple, only 2% of iPhone users are still using a version of iOS that’s older than iOS 14, which makes maintaining an aging version of the Twitter app a largely worthless but nonetheless costly endeavor. 

Regardless of the fact that this decision only affects 2% of Apple’s users who have stuck with their seven-year-old devices, it’s nevertheless a reminder that planned obsolescence is very much an issue that will come for all our devices eventually. 

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Twitter down: social media website and app aren’t working – again

It feels like every other week that the internet breaks – you've guessed it (from the headline), Twitter is down.

The social media giant is unavailable to loads of users – trying to access the web page brings up the message “Something went wrong. Try reloading.”, and the app won't refresh with newer tweets.

Reports on downdetector.co.uk jumped up into the thousands within minutes of the outage – it's worth pointing out that, while the reports also rose on downdetector.com (in the US), they didn't rise by nearly as much.

It sounds like a limited issue, as lots of TechRadar team members haven't had an issue. Saying that the sheer number of Downdetector reports shows that something is up.

Not only is the main Twitter feed down, but other Twitter sites are down too, like its Help site.

We just wanted to post a funny joke, and now we've discovered that Twitter isn't working. We're investigating.

Judging by reports from Downdetector and TechRadar's US team, the outage is affecting far fewer people in the US than in the UK – it seems mainly a British problem. Well, we can add that to the list after Freddos costing more, Magnums getting smaller and the whole cost of living thing.

In the UK, DownDetector reports more than 4,000 reports in the last few minutes. That's a huge number given how many we normally see – even for the major outages that affect multiple websites, we usually see one or two thousand reports.

This outage has come less than six weeks after the last Twitter outage.

That was a smaller one, as the main Twitter feed would load, but Tweets wouldn't – so you could see them, but not click on them or interact with them. 

Now, you can't see anything – it's radio silence.

Usually when there's an internet outage, people turn to Twitter to look for answers. That's… a little harder now.

We looked at Facebook, but Twitter itself hasn't posted there for several months. Last time it did, it was a screenshot of a Tweet about cats. What is this, 2007?

Facebook is a bit more community-focused though, so it's harder to see what people in the wider world are saying.

Reddit to the rescue though:

is_twitter_down_for_anyone_else_in_uk from r/Twitter

There's no official comment, but there are people from around the world commenting to say that Reddit isn't working for them.

Unfortunately, because Reddit's support and news room sites are all hosted by the media giant itself, they're not working either.

We're seeing a growing number of reports of outages from the US, but TechRadar's team based there hasn't seen anything.

It's likely that a server in Europe is at fault, which is why it's so much more of an issue for our UK readers than our US ones.

But we're waiting to find out from Twitter to see what's going on.

Oppo Find X5 Pro

(Image credit: Future)

Reports are well over 4,000 at the moment.

For context, the baseline is 3. That's a big difference.

Oh wait – Twitter is back! (for me at least)

This suggests the end of the outage could be here – just in time for you to return to work after your lunch break. What bad luck.

DownDetector reports for Twitter problems are finally going down – it looks like the outage could really be over.

It's not a steep plummet of reports, which suggests some people are still finding problems with their desktop site or phone app, but this at least tells us that the initial problem is being solved.

We've been looking to see if Twitter itself has commented on the outage – so far we can't see anything from any of its official accounts.

Saying that, it's got about a billion of its own accounts for different regions, aspects of the site and more, so it's very possible that one of them has posted, and we just haven't found it yet.

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Twitter rolls back another terrible feature update in new speed record

In record time, Twitter has rolled back a feature that would force you to either look at two timelines or only view the 'Top Tweets' timeline, to the scorn of users.

For almost a week, users would have to switch between two timelines as they would scroll to see what new tweets were there from their brands and friends – myself included.

But it got to the point where I would be scrolling for five minutes, not realizing that I was on the 'Top Tweets' feed, not the 'Latest Tweets' feed.

It's a ridiculous design decision that didn't go down well with its many users. While there were some self-congratulatory tweets from designers at Twitter praising this reversal, I can't help but wonder if this was a feature purposely designed to annoy users for a short time, or communication of what users want in features at the company, has hit a new low.

Leave our feeds alone Twitter

I had spoken before about how much I hated this new feature, and I wasn't alone. Executives at Twitter were replying to others in how they were working on an alternative to this change in the feed, and we didn't have long to wait.

The alternative turned out to be Twitter reversing its decision to push 'Top Tweets' as if nothing happened. But it's an example of a feature that shouldn't have been there in the first place. Its change made no sense, and from a usability angle, it didn't give any benefits to the user.

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Having two timelines was confusing, and the added fact that the 'sparkle' icon on the top right, would give you the option to show one feed that no one wanted, was another baffling decision.

Every user on Twitter has different feeds from everyone else. It's what makes the social platform unique – its algorithm and the people you've decided to follow shape your interests while discovering new voices.

But features like this hinder the experience massively, and I'm not aware of anyone who likes to use the 'Top Tweets' feature. Twitter is a platform that many folks use to catch up on the latest news, regardless of the topic – it's not a magazine highlighting the last few days.

Hopefully, when the company realizes this, we will see less of these useless features and others that we can benefit from, such as an edit button.

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Twitter just made a big change to our timelines, and I hate it

It appears Twitter has just flicked a switch to let you slide between two feeds on iOS, where you can decide between a feed of top tweets or chronological tweets.

However, this feature has been available for a while, thanks to the star icon on the top-right corner of your screen. You could switch between the feeds through here, and one feed would display on the app instead.

But there's now an additional swipe required to go to your profile if you're on the 'Latest Tweets', and none of this makes sense. While it's rolling out to iOS for now, Twitter has said that it's soon coming to Android and the web in the coming weeks, but I'm hoping this change is rolled back and forgotten about as soon as possible.

An additional swipe is an additional annoyance

Twitter is the social platform I use the most. Granted, there's some tweets that are written just to drum up pointless discussion, or as an attempted joke to try and go viral, but in the majority of my time there, I've found it to be a good place, and I've met a lot of great people through it.

Toward the end of 2021, the company brought out a feature to display your top tweets – this meant that any tweets with the most interaction at that time, whether it was likes or replies, would be shown at the top of your feed. But Twitter was adamant that the choice between this and a chronological feed would remain.

Overnight, it looks as though that train of thought has gone off the rails.

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Not only does it add an additional step to decide between two feeds, but I've already found myself to be confused as to which feed I'm looking at.

Not being able to unpin the algorithmic timeline feels backward, and puts the user into a corner, where you have to abide by Twitter's design, whether you like it or not.

The company has been trying different features and refinements in the last 18 months, with Fleets being a great example of something that didn't work, and it was soon scrapped.

I'm hoping the same repeats here, where Twitter will soon realize how irritating this change is, as I don't see how this benefits the user when the choice was already there, and had been designed in a better way for months anyway.

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