April 15, 2024
Twitter alternative T2 gets its own For You feed, but won't force it as the default


The would-be Twitter rival T2 has already launched a number of features hoping to capture the attention of Twitter’s fleeing users, including built-in direct messages and a verification program that allowed Twitter users to import their legacy checkmark before it disappeared on the Elon Musk-owned app, which recently rebranded as X. Today, however, T2 is launching a feature other microblogging networks like X do tend to offer: its own algorithmic “For You” feed.

On X, the For You feed is the default experience and includes recommendations of posts from people you don’t follow, in order to showcase what X believes is the “best” content. This type of feed experience, popularized by TikTok, can also be found in other social apps, like Instagram, but had yet to fully be incorporated into the world of microblogging apps like X until more recently. Since X’s adoption, other rivals have followed, including Mastodon client Mammoth and Instagram Threads.

T2’s version of the For You feed won’t be as heavy-handed as some others, like X’s, as it won’t be forced on users as the default experience.

Image Credits: T2 screenshot

The feed’s algorithm is fairly simple, as well, as it only relies on four scores to determine what content to show the end user.

This includes if the user is following the post’s author, which offers a boost of 10 points, and if the post is in your browser’s main language (+8 points, or +4  or +2 for a secondary or third language, respectively). Plus, if the content of the post matches a topic you’ve marked in your “Interests,” that’s another 2-point boost. Meanwhile, the recency of content is also considered, with fresher content ranking higher.

This is a different system than some other For You feeds, as it actually gives more weight to people you’re already following rather than just generally popular or trending content.

Image Credits: T2

 

With the addition, T2 now sports three different types of feeds in its app — the new For You feed, the feed of people you’re following and an “All” feed that lets you browse all the posts across T2. The latter isn’t too overwhelming because T2 is one of the smaller Twitter/X rivals, with a user base only in the double-digit thousands at present. The company has also not embraced plans to offer decentralization, like Threads’ planned support for ActivityPub, the protocol used by Mastodon, or Bluesky’s support of the AT Protocol, which would allow its network to reach larger numbers of users.

Founded by Twitter and Google veterans, Sarah Oh, Twitter’s former human rights advisor, and Gabor Cselle, who sold his prior companies to Twitter and Google, T2’s focus from the start has been on building a lasting, stable, and civil community. It has done so by prioritizing work on trust and safety ahead of other technical integrations or rapid growth. While not as flashy as the shitposting, anything goes destination Bluesky that’s also meant T2 hasn’t faced the moderation challenges that Bluesky has, which have strained that app’s relationship with Black users.

Still, without greater adoption, it will be a challenge for seed-funded T2 to develop a community large enough to be sustainable. That said, making the app more comparable to the old Twitter with a For You feed that’s an option, not a default, could help T2 grow its numbers.



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