Gizmodo:

Image: Win McNamee (Getty Images)

Of all the bizarre decisions to come out of Twitter following Elon Musk’s takeover last October, removing headlines might be the dumbest. The social media platform has officially beheaded all links in a curious crusade against news organizations and the platform’s shrinking user base.

Elon Musk first warned us in August that the platform would be removing link headlines. Previously, links shared to the platform would boast a headline, a short synopsis of the story, and a feature image. Now, links only include the featured image and the name of the outlet is displayed in teeny-tiny type. This new directive retroactively siphons important information from pre-existing tweets that can’t be edited and forces users to manually input the headline into the body of the post. While this only requires a simple copy and paste in most instances, it also requires acting in good faith—and we all know that Twitter is famous for its users who act in good faith.

“Although Elon Musk has framed this as a decision informed by aesthetic considerations, it can be seen as part of a larger trend toward making Twitter/X more difficult for news organizations to use,” Cardiff University journalism professor Karin Wahl-Jorgensen told The Washington Post in an email. “It is likely to have a significant adverse impact on click-through rates because platform users will no longer have the necessary context to understand the content of links — and therefore little reason to click on them.”

Musk eventually started attacking people who didn’t like the new change to Twitter. Cloud computing company Box’s CEO Aaron Levie expressed his opinion on the headline removal, tweeting that it “makes Twitter far worse for its primary value prop of getting news quickly.” Musk then handwaved Levie’s opinion away in a reply, inexplicably insisting that anyone who doesn’t like it is simply a sheep who listens to the mainstream media.

In the wake of this game-changing tweak to the digital infrastructure of X/Twitter, users did what they do best: Memed it to hell. The removal of headlines offered jokesters on the site the opportunity to rewrite history with a hilarious punchline, with Elon Musk being the subject. The jokes were plentiful: Musk is dying, tripping on ketamine, and having his genitals mutilated in a car door all in a single day. Here are the 12 best headlines.


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MuskWire TLDR:

Twitter has removed headlines from links shared on the platform, leaving only the featured image and the name of the outlet in small type. This change retroactively affects pre-existing tweets and forces users to manually input the headline into the body of the post. Critics argue that this decision will have a negative impact on click-through rates, as users will no longer have the necessary context to understand the content of the links. Elon Musk, who took over Twitter last October, defended the decision and dismissed those who criticized it as sheep who listen to mainstream media. In response to the change, users on Twitter have created memes and jokes, rewriting headlines with humorous punchlines, often featuring Elon Musk.