Twitter owner Elon Musk has decided that links to news articles on the platform will no longer include headlines, with critics claiming it is an attempt to skirt copyright rules in the European Union that would require him to pay the outlets.
“X is changing how news links show up on the timeline. It will strip out the headline/text so links display only an article’s lead image,” an account called X News Daily wrote.
In a reply, Musk stated, “This is coming from me directly. Will greatly improve the esthetics.”
However, like most of Musk’s moves, a hidden business strategy may be the true driving factor behind the decision.
French press publishers are accusing the mogul of trying to avoid copyright law in the EU, which would require the platform to pay news outlets every time their content is used on the app, Politico reported.
France has what are called neighboring rights, similar to legislation existing in Australia and Canada. In the case of Canada, Mark Zuckerberg’s Meta has declined to abide by the new laws and shut off the flow of news content on Facebook and Instagram.
According to reports, France came to terms with Google and Meta regarding neighboring rights, but not Twitter. Some of France’s leading publications, such as Agence France-Presse and Le Monde, sued Twitter in early August, 2023 for not adhering to the copyright requirements.
“This is bizarre. They want us to pay *them* for traffic to their site where they make advertising revenue and we don’t!?” Musk wrote at the time.
Some of Musk’s changes to the social media app have faced harsh criticism lately, including the removal of the blocking feature. This caused turmoil with some of the larger politically active accounts on the site, such as actor James Woods, who criticized the move only to have Musk use the still-existing block feature on him.
“If [Elon Musk] removes the ability to block concerted harassment by trolls or organized political entities, how will ‘X’ be any different from Jack Dorsey’s horrid Twitter?” Woods wrote.
“Then delete your account,” Musk replied, followed by a block of the actor.
Subscribers of the website now known as X also learned that they will be required to send a photo and identification to an Israeli software company for verification.
The same company reportedly serves other large tech companies, such as Google, PayPal, and Uber.
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