The short-lived experiment helped users prune their follower list.
Twitter works best when you have a perfectly-curated follower list. For many, it’s an evolving process as their interests and opinions — and those of the people they follow — slowly change. For years, Twitter has recommended “Who to Follow,” but as Slate reports, the company is also testing the reverse. That’s right, some users are seeing prompts about accounts they might want to unfollow. As a spokesperson explained to Slate: “We know that people want a relevant Twitter timeline. One way to do this is by unfollowing people they don’t engage with regularly.” It was an “incredibly limited test,” however, that may never be rolled out widely.#
Still, it’s an intriguing move. Twitter knows that it needs to improve the quality of its platform, and tackle the spread of misinformation, harassment and extremist views. In the short-term, suggesting people to unfollow may hurt the platform’s already stagnant user growth. Over time, though, it could dramatically improve users’ experience on the platform and, slowly, encourage them to log on and tweet more often. That in turn would improve engagement and help Twitter’s efforts to generate revenue. The short-lived test, of course, may never be repeated, but it’s interesting to see how Twitter is thinking about its users and worryingly toxic image.