The Desk appreciates the support of readers who purchase products or services through links on our website. Learn more...

How to avoid Twitter’s latest batch of new and unwanted features

(Photo: The Desk / Flickr CC)

Users tend to act apprehensively whenever a new feature is introduced or an old feature is changed on a social platform. One new feature recently rolled out by Twitter is no exception.

According to the Washington Post, Twitter users have started noticing changes in their “timeline,” the feed by which users see all tweets from other users they choose to follow on the platform. Notably, users are now seeing tweets in their timeline from people they don’t follow, but are instead “favorited” by people that they do.

With the exception of a small notification indicating that the tweet is a “favorite” of another user, the appearance of the tweet bears the same hallmarks as one published by someone a user is following. This has some users leveraging criticism against the microblog for trying to turn the platform into a micro-Facebook.

“Huge mistake for @twitter to place favorites in the twitter stream,” Twitter user Aimee Giese wrote (on Twitter). “People come here because it’s not Facebook.”

There is, however, a very simple way for avoiding new Twitter features, at least in the interim: Use a third-party Twitter client.

Twitter often introduces new features and changes to its service on its own platform and apps before they make their way to third-party clients such as Echofon and TweetBot. When Twitter announced support for multiple images in a tweet earlier this year, the feature was initially only available on Twitter’s own mobile application. Later, the feature made its way to Twitter’s web service, and eventually the feature was added to TweetBot (it is still not available on Echofon for desktop).

It is unclear if Twitter’s latest experiment is permanent (some have speculated that it is). It’s also hard to tell if said feature will eventually make its way to third-party applications, though said apps are usually hesitant about adopting changes and features that Twitter’s community finds unfavorable (you can still see Instagram images and videos on Echofon and TweetBot, even though the feature was phased out by Twitter two years ago).

Still, if it bothers you that tweet from people you don’t follow could soon start popping up in your timeline (or if they already are), consider deleting Twitter’s official apps in favor of a third-party client.