Twitter Unfollows: This Time It’s Personal

Posted on August 30, 2018 by Mehedi Hassan in Social with 18 Comments

Twitter is actually toying with the idea of recommending users to unfollow people on its platform. The company tested a new system with a small number of users that provided users with a list of people they might want to…unfollow.

The system essentially shows you a list of people you don’t interact with regularly. This way, by unfollowing people you don’t really interact with much, Twitter hopes it will be able to provide you with a more relevant timeline. The list is supposed to “control what’s happening,” according to Twitter. “You don’t need to follow everyone to know what’s happening. Make sure you’re only following the people that make Twitter great for you,” the app says.

“We know that people want a relevant Twitter timeline. One way to do this is by unfollowing people they don’t engage with regularly. We ran an incredibly limited test to surface accounts that people were not engaging with to check if they’d like to unfollow them,” a Twitter spokesperson told Slate. The company says it has already finished testing the new system, though it wouldn’t tell whether the test was successful.

Telling people who they should unfollow is quite a courageous step for a social network. Twitter’s been making a ton of changes to the Twitter feed in recent times, mostly focused on increasing interactions within the platform and encouraging users to connect with more users on the platform. But the latest test is the complete opposite — asking users to cut down their connections and only interact with people that really matter to them. It’s really personal.

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Comments (18)

18 responses to “Twitter Unfollows: This Time It’s Personal”

  1. thunderbuck

    Yes! Please! I'm constantly bumping my head against the 5,000 follows cap and it's kind of a pain to weed through my list every single time.

  2. Daekar

    So... I think this means Twitter has no idea how and why people use Twitter.

  3. joshhuggins

    Closed my Twitter account last week. Not missing anything about it.

  4. bharris

    I put this on the same level as FaceBook taking on fake news. It is more to shape what you see, and hopefully opinions, than any benefit to their users.

  5. walterwood44

    I dont go on Twitter that much so I guess I should unfollow everyone! lol

  6. skane2600

    Merely sending tweets to another twitter member isn't really "interacting". Have you ever tweeted to a famous person? It's like talking back to your TV.

  7. Mark from CO


    Having a monopolistic-like company tell us who to unfollow is not a courageous step, but an Orwellian leap. You are naïve to believe that the tech giants can be politically neutral. All have a political bent, right or left. If a corporation wants to do this, then they should be subjected to some form of oversight, to ensure that they don't abuse this very significant power.

  8. jimchamplin

    I have a deal.

    If Twitter convinces me to remove someone, I get a real feed back.

  9. jbinaz

    I have no problem with them suggesting people to unfollow. I have been doing a LOT of pruning lately on my own to remove some of the noise/toxicity, but a) it needs to be a feature I can disable, and b) it cannot automatically unfollow people. Suggestions could be useful.

  10. Breaker119

    A relevant timeline? Are they kidding?! What does that mean to Twitter? All I want out of a relevant timeline is a chronological list of all tweets from all accounts that I follow! The number of accounts that I have "interacted" with is a tiny fraction of those I follow, but that doesn't mean I don't want to follow the others.

    • rlbumpus

      In reply to Breaker119: I agree completely which is why I use the 3rd party. Still hanging on to Tweetium. I can easily choose to pick up the chronological timeline where I last left off without Twitter's ICYMI, or "here's who you should follow" or posts from people I follow that like other posts. And I interact with practically no one on Twitter.

  11. B Mallon

    Wow! Twitter is soooo courageous...... : |

  12. Rob_Wade

    And it's a feature I won't be taking advantage of. I follow whomever I choose to follow, period. Twitter is run by emotional morons, so I don't care what they or their skewed algorithms think.

    • zybch

      In reply to Rob_Wade:

      What makes you think you'll have a choice?

      They'll just make a determination on the 'right' people you should follow and unfollow the rest. Just like YouTube does already.

  13. zybch

    And given their political leanings is no great stretch they'll recommend (or just take the step themselves) to unfollow anyone that doesn't fit their far left ideology.