Headlines on X posts are back, but they’re different

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio

Users can once again see headlines on X posts. And that’s a big deal for those of us who make money from the news business.

Initially, when you were composing tweets, if you pasted a link, the lead image from the article and the headline popped up.

Last summer, Elon Musk announced a change was coming. When users shared news links, the headline and any intro text would be stripped, and only the article’s lead image would show. Musk said doing this would greatly improve aesthetics.

That change came in October. When someone shared a link to an article, there was a picture and the URL to the website. But to find out what the picture was about, users had to click through and leave X.

To the left is how headlines used to appear. The right is a post with no headline. (Images via @yashar / @xDaily)

That was bad news for those of us who share news. And for those of us who didn’t want to suffer the foreseeable decline in traffic, it meant having to come up with a workaround. And that meant adding yet more work to the process of getting your work out there.

Whereas before you could post your link and go, many people started writing the titles and snippets in the post. Although it was better than nothing, it wasn’t as eye-catching or as professional-looking.

Some edited their images to include the title, which, for some folks, meant having two images for every article because they didn’t want to or weren’t allowed to post an image with a title on the site where the article lived.

In November, Musk announced that headlines would be coming back although he didn’t say when.

It appears that time is now. But still, headlines on X didn’t return as they previously were or as Musk promised.

Before, headlines were prominently displayed under the image. Musk said they would return as an overlay in the upper portion of the image.

Current style of headlines on X

Instead, the headlines are now shown in small text at the bottom of the image. And some lengthy titles get cut off, and that means the hosting website also gets cut off.  Because, as it stands, a single line is all you get.

Headlines are still showing the old way on the X Android app. But, according to reports, they still don’t show at all on the iOS app.

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