While Musk has consistently criticized what he calls the “legacy media,” he stated that this latest change was primarily for “aesthetic” reasons.
News links and other shared links now appear as pictures without accompanying text.
Elon Musk’s acquisition of Twitter, now known as X, in a $44 billion deal last year marked a significant shift in the platform’s direction.
Since then, he has renamed it X, implemented staff reductions, and faced criticism for allowing banned conspiracy theorists and extremists back onto the platform, leading to advertisers withdrawing their support.
Musk has also banned and later reinstated various journalists from mainstream outlets, including the Washington Post and CNN.
He has even seemingly delayed posts from accounts such as the New York Times.
“I almost never read legacy news anymore,” Musk stated on Tuesday. “What’s the point of reading 1,000 words about something that was already posted on X several days ago?”
These changes are further straining relations between Musk’s platform and media groups. Some media organizations have ceased posting on X altogether due to increasing hate speech and Musk’s behavior.
French news outlets, including AFP, initiated a legal case against X in early August, alleging copyright breaches.
When the changes to links were initially suggested in August, Musk explained, “This is coming from me directly. Will greatly improve the esthetics.” These changes have gradually been introduced this week.
Instead of headlines accompanied by images, users now only see images with small watermarks.
This alteration has received substantial criticism, with journalist Tom Warren of The Verge posting on X, “It’s the latest in a long line of dumb changes on this platform.”
Users have already expressed concerns that distinguishing between news and other information has become challenging, potentially impacting the site’s trustworthiness.
In September, the European Commission reported that X had a higher ratio of misinformation and disinformation than any other social media platform.
The strained relationship between tech companies and media is not unique to X. Both Google and Meta have pushed back against laws requiring them to pay media companies for displaying news stories.
These changes have had real-world consequences. Axios news site reported on Tuesday that referrals to media websites from X and Meta’s Facebook have significantly declined in the past three years.