Twitter testing out feature for users to follow topics on the platform

Yesterday Twitter revealed a new feature that it is testing out where users can receive notifications for specific replies within a conversation thread.

Now the platform has added another feature to the mix making it possible to follow topics on Twitter – much in the same way that a person would follow an account.

This new feature, like the one from yesterday, is in the test phase, although the scope of availability is unclear.

According to The Verge, when the feature goes live, users will be able to select topics from inside their timeline. The types of topics will be fairly generic for now, including TV shows, sports and celebrities.

To be fair though, that’s often what the vast majority of people on Twitter discuss anyway, but it would be interesting if there is scope to add more nuanced topics to the mix in future, such as load shedding for us in South Africa.

Twitter says that the creation of topics will be handled via machine learning instead of personal human curation. This too is intriguing, especially as machine learning has proved a controversial issue of late as a result of inherent bias.

Should the machine learning system work properly, however, it may provide a more accurate reflection of the types of topics users are engaged with on Twitter. That said, there is also opportunity for the system to be exploited, with politics being one area where social media has come under scrutiny.

This latest feature, along with a handful of less high-profile ones, were announced by Twitter at a media event Stateside last night. All of them should be rolling out to Android and iOS users in the coming days and weeks.

[Image – Photo by Sara Kurfeß on Unsplash]


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