X confuses the masses by removing all details from links
And in other news, lenders complain Musk needs to go
Elon Musk has made good on threats to strip links in Xitter posts of anything but a domain name and image.
Gone are any context clues to suggest links are anything more than images - titles, subheads - everything but the domain name of the linked site are gone on the X mobile app for iOS and on X.com for this reporter and plenty others.
Musk confirmed the decision to change how links are displayed on his personal platform in late August after leaked internal documents suggesting the website would make the change to reduce the height of individual tweets in order to squeeze more content onscreen and, in the process, boost engagement apparently.
Be glad we write such great captions or you'd have no idea what's going on here ... Click to enlarge
While not admitting engagement was the point, Musk said he wanted to change the layout to "greatly improve the esthetics" [sic] of the website - but that was August. Now it's October, and Musk's singing a different tune.
"Our algorithm tries to optimize time spent on X, so links don't get as much attention, because there is less time spent if people click away," the billionaire said. There's something closer to the truth.
Regardless of the motive, X staff and users don't seem convinced - at least at a cursory glance of the home feed of X, where some describe the change as confusing, and others point out that it's a great way to make it harder to discern a malicious link from a safe one.
Great timing, Elon
If nothing else, the latest X change will definitely give CEO Linda Yaccarino something to talk about with the banks that helped Musk buy X last year when she meets with them later today - and they might not be thrilled about the move.
Yaccarino is reportedly set to meet with Morgan Stanley, Bank of America, British bank Barclays, Japanese banks MUFG and Mizuho, and French financial institutions BNP Paribas and Société Générale to discuss plans not to leave them in the lurch as the value of X's assets have plummeted by two thirds in the past year.
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As we reported when Musk first announced the move to change how links are displayed, advertisers - already unhappy with X over brand safety issues and seemingly staying away in large numbers - weren't pleased with the idea, at least according to unnamed sources who spoke to Fortune.
"She has to get [Musk] out," an unnamed banker from one of X's lenders told the Financial Times of the future of X. "They need ad dollars to come back," the banker said, adding that it wasn't clear whether that would happen as long as Musk kept up his usual inflammatory habits.
With huge interest payments to those banks continuing to come due and X's value incredibly unclear - but unlikely to have appreciated - the banks might be getting impatient to see some improvement as Musk's first year of ownership draws to a close. ®