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Twitter May Adopt A Facebook-Like Algorithmic Feed

But key to Twitter's role in breaking news is the reverse chronological timeline it has had for eight years.

Twitter May Adopt A Facebook-Like Algorithmic Feed
[Photo: Flickr user Kate Ter Haar]

Twitter's chief financial officer, Anthony Noto, on Wednesday said the social network could adopt an Facebook-like, algorithmically ranked feed, breaking away from the reverse chronological timeline it has had since it launched in 2006.

The existing feed "isn’t the most relevant experience for a user," Noto said at a conference, according to the Wall Street Journal. "Putting that content in front of the person at that moment in time is a way to organize that content better." In the company's last conference call on July 29, Twitter CEO Dick Costolo also hinted at the possibility of introducing an algorithmic feed.

Noto said Twitter will test a non-chronological feed with select users before rolling it out to the general public. "Individual users are not going to wake up one day and find their timeline completely ranked by an algorithm," he said, also noting a group chat feature is in the works.

As Twitter grows as a company, it has been taking many cues from Facebook to cull a mainstream audience, including unveiling a redesign that borrowed styling from Facebook's profile page, a photo-tagging feature, and real-time notifications.

Twitter has been embraced as a tool for breaking news precisely because it displays new tweets first. For example, while the protests in Ferguson, Missouri dominated Twitter, the conversation was scant on Facebook, which instead gave momentum to the ice bucket challenge.