In a significant move likely to strain relations with media groups, Elon Musk’s social media platform X has removed headlines from news articles shared by its users. Musk, a vocal critic of the “legacy media,” claims that X, formerly known as Twitter, provides a superior source of information. He cited “aesthetic” reasons for the recent change, where news and other links now appear only as pictures without accompanying text.
Musk took control of Twitter last year in a $44 billion deal and rebranded it as X. Since then, he has made substantial changes, including employee layoffs and controversial decisions such as allowing banned conspiracy theorists and extremists back on the platform, resulting in advertisers departing.
Furthermore, Musk has barred and later reinstated various journalists affiliated with mainstream outlets like the Washington Post and CNN. There have also been instances where posts from accounts, including the New York Times, appeared to be delayed. Consequently, some media groups have ceased posting on X altogether. AFP and other French news outlets initiated a legal case in early August, accusing X of copyright breaches.
“I almost never read legacy news anymore,” Musk stated on Tuesday. “What’s the point of reading 1,000 words about something that was already posted on X several days ago?” When the proposed link changes were first mentioned in August, Musk commented: “This is coming directly from me. It will greatly improve aesthetics.” The recent modifications seem to have been gradually implemented this week. Instead of displaying a headline along with a picture, users now only see a picture with a small watermark. Some users have already observed that it is now challenging to distinguish between news and other types of information. This aspect is likely to raise concerns about the trustworthiness of the site. In September, the European Commission reported that X had a higher ratio of misinformation and disinformation compared to other social media platforms.