Twitter this week began expanding a new section of the Explore tab on iOS and Android, where it will populate tweets aimed at each unique user based on their own interests. Twitter confirmed the update’s appearance to BuzzFeed, and it follows a few months after Twitter debuted a notable redesign for its mobile apps and website.
The new categories in Explore include topics such as “Popular in Literature,” “Popular in Video Games,” “Popular in eSports,” and more, with tweets taken from a combination of accounts followed and not followed by the user. Like other quiet updates, some users may have noticed these changes weeks ago, while others will just begin getting them now, and they can be found by tapping the magnifying glass “Explore” tab on Twitter’s iOS app, then scrolling down below Trends and Moments.
Twitter said that these topics will be “based on what they know about your interests,” but it wasn’t made clear exactly how Twitter gains that information, although liked tweets and followed accounts are likely sourced. The company said that it will “eventually” give users more control over this section and allow them to tell Twitter when they don’t want to see a specific topic, further helping the app curate personalized tweets.
Now you can view tweets sorted by topic, without having to follow anyone, right in Twitter’s Explore tab.
Twitter’s algorithms will show you these topics based on what they know about your interests. Eventually, the platform will give users more control over what they see, the spokesperson said. The company will roll out controls that allow people to tell it they don’t like a topic, which will inform Twitter’s decisions on what to show them.
The update is said to be another bid by Twitter to smooth the introduction process for new users, presenting them with their favorite topics in lieu of making them scroll through a lengthy list of suggested accounts that might tweet about topics they enjoy.
Many recent Twitter updates have focused on gaining and retaining users just joining the platform, including a switch from “favorite” stars to “like” hearts in 2015. Twitter also tested out changing the “retweet” icon into a “sharing” icon late last year, hoping that “share” would be more recognizable and understandable by new users than Twitter-specific lingo like “retweet,” but the change never rolled out to a wider user base.
The troubled introduction of new users onto the platform was a problem highlighted during Twitter’s most recent earnings report, where it was announced that the social network hadn’t grown its user base at all in the second quarter of 2017.
The new “Popular” topics feature is expanding globally this week on Twitter’s mobile apps, and users can download Twitter for iOS on the App Store for free.