Has Twitter’s moment passed with latest tweak?
The site has dropped its ‘moments’ tab – is this a sign that Twitter’s time is running out?
Moments was once reserved for certain accounts such as the New York Times, BuzzFeed and Twitter itself, before it began loosening the restraint and eventually opened it up to everyone. Photograph: Leon Neal/AFP/Getty Images
Another day, another tweak for Twitter. The latest – the appearance of the Explore tab on its mobile app – may not seem like a big deal. But given that it demotes “moments”, one of Twitter’s more recent additions to its product, to a mere component in how to discover content in Twitter, it seems like an admission of defeat of sorts. Not only does the curated content tool get rolled up with search, trending topics and categories to help you hunt down interesting content, moments doesn’t even get top billing. That is reserved for trending topics or, when available, live video. Moments was once reserved for certain accounts such as the New York Times, BuzzFeed and Twitter itself, before it began loosening the restraint and eventually opened it up to everyone. In Ireland, the moments tab only appeared in October on the app; it was a short-lived run, apparently.
It’s a far cry from the days when Twitter features – the hashtag, the @reply, the retweet – were not only embraced by the community but originated by them.
Despite touting for a buyer last year, Twitter failed to attract any serious offers, which must be a concern for not only the company but also its investors. The service has also found itself under fire for abuse suffered by some users on its platform, and has found itself accused of providing the means for racists, fascists and those who style themselves as “alt-right” to spread their message. On one hand, it is trying to provide a communication platform; on the other it has to balance the right to free expression with the responsibilities that come with it. It’s a perilous line to walk, and it’s not yet clear if Twitter can do it without falling foul of one side or the other.
So where to now for Twitter? While the company seems to have had some success with live video, it is going to need to come up with something more to convince people that it has a viable future as a platform.