Twitter announced today a new Related Headlines feature, which shows what websites a tweet has been embedded in on the tweet’s permalinked page. This lets you follow through on a story and learn extra context, and it encourages sites to embed tweets more often. From now on, when you click on the tweet’s URL on Twitter.com, you will see links to news stories where that tweet has been embedded. As an example, I will embed my own tweets below. If you click on a tweet’s URL (the timestamp), then you SHOULD see a link to this website in the related headlines section.
— Ehi Kioya (@Ehickioya) August 10, 2013
See the difference? pic.twitter.com/C8J2VJ465u
— Ehi Kioya (@Ehickioya) November 28, 2014
If you're unapologetically curious, incorrigibly creative, and easily bored, then you're very likely super-duper smart as well.
— Ehi Kioya (@Ehickioya) March 12, 2015
Haha. Evolution! pic.twitter.com/JP2OYdIok0
— Ehi Kioya (@Ehickioya) November 2, 2014
There are no boundaries to creativity. Go ahead. Do something.
— Ehi Kioya (@Ehickioya) February 7, 2015
Read books! Intellectual "pounds" is a good thing. pic.twitter.com/YkxEDYmkh8
— Ehi Kioya (@Ehickioya) September 6, 2015
Not all tweets will have related headlines, of course – only tweets popular or relevant enough to have been embedded in a post. The new feature is intended to provide tweets with a little more context by offering a glimpse at “the stories behind a Tweet,” according to Twitter’s blog.
In the post that revealed this news, Twitter’s Platform Services Engineer Brian Wallerstein cited NBA center Jason Collins as an example. Earlier this year, Collins became the first openly gay basketball player and with people wanting to add his statement via Twitter to their blogs, you often needed to go to Google or various news outlets to figure out what people are saying. This new feature would have made it easy to find those stories right from Jason’s tweet, and dive in for more details. Collins’ tweet will now appear like this:
There was a ton of confusion and anger over how this feature works. Many observers assumed that the related headlines would appear on the websites where the tweets are embedded, when it fact they’ll exist only on Twitter.com. Even TechCrunch had to issue the following statement to correct their story:
Correction: Related Headlines do not show up when a tweet is embedded as we briefly published. Related Headlines are only shown on a tweet’s permalinked page, and aren’t part of Twitter cards so they don’t appear in embeds. That means there’s no danger of showing links to other sites in your posts.
The feature is now fully integrated with the platform, though Twitter has been testing it since early July. It’s all part of CEO Dick Costolo’s plan to enhance Twitter’s usability during live events like the Super Bowl or the Oscars, when the site tends to see spikes in traffic. By enabling users to gather more depth and context from the tweets on their feed, Twitter can help ensure users keep scrolling through their timelines to get breaking stories. Interestingly, Twitter didn’t mention anything about how it chooses what tweets are shown in Related Headlines or how it ranks them.