Elon Musk has made a significant alteration by removing headlines from news articles shared by users on X. Musk, who has consistently criticized the “legacy media” and positioned X as a superior source of information, stating that this recent change was driven by “aesthetic” reasons. Consequently, news articles and other links now appear as images without accompanying text.
Last year, Elon Musk acquired Twitter in a $44 billion deal and subsequently rebranded it as X. Since then, he has initiated substantial changes, including staff layoffs and controversial decisions such as allowing banned conspiracy theorists and extremists back onto the platform, leading to the departure of advertisers. Additionally, Musk has both banned and reinstated various journalists from mainstream outlets.
In a recent X post, Musk revealed his diminishing reliance on traditional news outlets: “I almost never read legacy news anymore… What’s the point of reading 1,000 words about something that was already posted on X several days ago?”
Musk’s relationship with media organizations has soured significantly. Some media groups have ceased posting on X due to the platform’s increase in hate speech and Musk’s behavior.
Additionally, in August, AFP and other French news outlets filed a legal case accusing X of copyright violations in response to the proposed changes to links. Musk had stated at the time, “This is coming from me directly. Will greatly improve the aesthetics.”
The modifications to links have been introduced gradually this week. Instead of displaying a headline alongside an image, users now see only an image with a small watermark.
In September, the European Commission reported that X had a higher prevalence of misinformation and disinformation compared to other social media platforms.
The strained relationship between tech companies and media outlets extends beyond X. Both Google and Meta have contested laws requiring them to compensate media companies for displaying their content.
The consequences of these changes are tangible, with Axios news site reporting a significant decline in referrals to media websites from X and Meta’s Facebook over the past three years.