How Twitter Decides What To Place In Your Stream


Twitter recently began adding content to users’ timelines, and it says it’s going to keep doing that. However, Twitter hasn’t really explained how it’s doing that — and the bits of information it has offered are confusing.

Recode breaks down what’s showing up on your stream, and what you will see in the future.

According to Recode, “When Twitter inserts a tweet into your timeline from someone you don’t follow, it offers a short header that tries to explain why it’s there. For instance, you might see a tweet from a stranger, along with a label saying that a friend you follow on Twitter favorited the tweet, or follows the account that generated the tweet.”


To provide these recommendations, Twitter’s algorithm searches for popular tweets in your “social graph,” marked by actions like favorites and retweets. But it’s not showing you those tweets specifically because of one of your friend’s actions — it’s showing it to you because lots of your friends have shown interest in that tweet.

This means that every tweet you favorite won’t appear in someone else’s feed — it would require engagement from a number of other people, too. Recode explains”

“Still, Twitter’s move might end up changing the way users treat the fave. Even if 50 other people favorite a tweet that Twitter surfaces, if your name is the one included in the label it certainly looks and feels like an endorsement, regardless of your intention. That’s one of the reasons people familiar with the algorithm say that Twitter is thinking about alternate, and hopefully less confusing, ways to indicate why you’re seeing one of the tweets it found for you.”

Social Media Week