X drops headlines for links, Elon Musk emphasizes aesthetics

Now, when links are shared on X, they are accompanied by an image from the linked article, along with text in the image’s left-hand corner indicating the domain of the link.

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X has ceased displaying headlines for links shared on its site. The decision, implemented on Wednesday, comes at the behest of site owner Elon Musk, who believes it will enhance the visual appeal of posts. Links posted on X will now feature an accompanying image from the linked article and text indicating the link’s domain in the image’s corner. Users must click on the image to access the linked page, a change that closely resembles how images uploaded directly to the platform appear.

This change, in the works since August, is seen as part of Musk’s ongoing efforts to reshape X, which has faced challenges since his takeover nearly a year ago, with declining traffic reported. Once a vital tool for news organizations, the platform has declined usage since Musk took over. Entities like NPR and the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) have scaled back their presence on the platform, sparking allegations of censorship from Musk.

Why does it matter?

X’s evolution since Musk’s takeover has increasingly become a topic of interest within the media landscape. In August, X briefly added a five-second delay when loading links to news sites and rivals like Reuters, the New York Times, Instagram, and Blue Sky, as discovered in a test by The Washington Post. Additionally, in the same month, X modified how it presents news links by eliminating text and headlines displaying only the main image. As the monthly US ad revenue on social media platform X continues to decline by at least 55% year-over-year since Musk’s acquisition, these ongoing changes and controversies could strain the platform’s ties with news organizations, potentially leading them to withdraw their active presence.