X reverses course on headlines in article links, kinda

Meanwhile: Fidelity downgrades social network's valuation by 71%, so far

Updated Links to web articles and pages made some sense again on X as headlines and titles returned to the preview cards shown in tweets.

Those still brave enough to wade through the mire that is X spotted the change on Tuesday: headline text unceremoniously returning to link thumbnails only a few months after owner Elon Musk did away with them in October. At the time he claimed the move would "improve the esthetics" (sic) of his cyber-clubhouse. 

Musk signaled he was reversing course on the policy in November, revealing back then that "in an upcoming release, X will overlay title in the upper portion of the image of a URL card." Now that day has come, although the title is in the bottom left corner.

Of course, the latest change drew the ire of some X users, who complained the returning link preview headlines were too small and hard to read, especially against an image background. Still, it's better than no title, which was an annoying user experience.


Page titles and headlines are or were back on X link preview cards, like the one above – Click to enlarge

In addition, the headlines weren't given much horizontal space, and were limited to a single line with the excess truncated. X didn't respond to questions about the U-turn – not even with a poop emoji, as used to be the style.

As of writing, the change is inconsistent: for instance, it appeared to affect the Twitter web client, while the X iOS app didn't bring headlines back despite being updated earlier today. And right now, at time of publication, the titles have gone again from the X website for some of us, and yet are still visible on Android.

Your mileage may vary. The site may converge on a consistent state eventually.

Speaking of establishing the value of a bad decision

Hoping to get a sense of the financial health of X as we march into 2024? Look no further than investment firm Fidelity's monthly holdings report, which estimates the value of its own stake in Musk's social media empire to be at another all-time low. 

According to the latest Fidelity Blue Chip Growth Fund report [PDF], released at the end of December for data through November 30, Fidelity now estimates its X/Twitter investment, which it acquired in October 2022 for roughly $19.2m, is worth just $5.6m – a drop of 71 percent. 

Lest you forget, November was the month X owner Elon Musk told advertisers to "go f**k yourself," which may have contributed to the decline. 

By Fidelity's reckoning, that means the microblogging platform is worth even less than the one-third of its $44 billion purchase value the firm estimated the network was worth in May 2023.

The amount, type and level of insider info that Fidelity may have and used to value X's financial performance isn't immediately clear – and X didn't answer questions about the firm's valuation either. ®

Updated to add on January 4

It looks like the headlines are back after disappearing for a short while.

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