Twitter tests personalized ‘unfollow’, feature

Twitter company tested a feature that suggests users to unfollow, as first spotted by TheNextWeb’s Matt Navarra earlier today. The test lasted for only a few days, and it has since concluded.

“We know that people want a relevant Twitter timeline. One way to do this is by unfollowing people they don’t engage with regularly,” reads a Twitter statement given to The Verge. “We ran an incredibly limited test to surface accounts that people were not engaging with to check if they’d like to unfollow them.”

For years, the app has recommended “Who to Follow,” but the company is also testing the reverse. That’s right, some users are seeing prompts about accounts they might want to unfollow.

Twitter knows that it needs to improve the quality of its platform, and tackle the spread of misinformation, harassment and extremist views. In the short-term, suggesting people to unfollow may hurt the platform’s already stagnant user growth.

Over time, though, it could dramatically improve users’ experience on the platform and, slowly, encourage them to log on and tweet more often. That in turn would improve engagement and help Twitter’s efforts to generate revenue. The short-lived test, of course, may never be repeated, but it’s interesting to see how the app is thinking about its users and worryingly toxic image.

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