The current version of Twitter was launched in Summer 2019 (it was rolled out to me on 22 July) and involved a change in appearance and functionality. Lots of long-term users disliked it and not just because we’re grumpy about change but because it made the site less usable and less appealing.
Browser add-ons like GoodTwitter and other tweaks solved the problem for several months by making your browser pretend to be an older version which couldn’t support New Twitter thereby forcing Twitter to display its legacy version. Alas this stopped working as well in mid-April 2020 and yesterday (8 May 2020) Twitter showed this notice to people using “Old” Twitter.
It says “This is the legacy version of twitter.com. We will be shutting it down on June 1, 2020. Please switch to a supported browser, or disable the extension which masks your browser. You can see a list of supported browsers in our Help Center.”
So after 1 June it looks like we’re all going to be stuck with the terrible new version of Twitter (reasons why I dislike it below). Boo. Hiss.
If I hear of ways to disable it I’ll update the post and delete the picture below.
It says “If you can see this image it means I’ve not found out how to disable Twitter’s new ‘fix’ which forces everyone onto the awful New Twitter layout.”
Meanwhile, here are some reasons why I don’t like #NewTwitter
Differences between New and Legacy Twitter
1. Top Tweets first
#NewTwitter defaults to showing you the top tweets so if you want to see the Latest ones you need to keep an eye on what it says at the top of the Home page. If your Twitter says “Home” and you want to see “Latest Tweets” click on the little star icon to the right to adjust.
Depending on which one you’ve currently got you’ll see either of the following and you can click to revert.
Note that in the one on the left (above) it tells you that Twitter will keep returning you to ‘Top Tweets’ (“You’ll be switched back Home…”) whether you like it or not. You can see why many users find this to be irritatingly presumptuous. I never want to see the top Tweets first and always want to see them in reverse chronological order.
2. The feed auto refreshes meaning stuff jumps around more
I follow a lot of people on Twitter though I suspect I may have to unfollow a few after 1 June to make Twitter usable because my home timeline is now more like a firehouse of rapidly updating tweets.
On old Twitter if you’ve been away or haven’t refreshed the page for a while then the tweets that have been sent in the interim appear in a bunch at the top – you click it and they are displayed. In the example pics below I’ve had 1 new notification and 6 new Tweets appeared on my home timeline.
I prefer this system because it means I can pause Twitter and do something else but my place is retained when I return. Not so with this new system.
Still to test: what happens when a tweet is sent and deleted.
On old Twitter if you’ve not refreshed the page you can scroll through the timeline and would still see tweets that may have been sent then deleted, so can take a screenshot. I’m not sure if the tweet will be wiped out with this new system (I once captured a forensically useful reply that someone sent to me (relating to a Trading Standards case I was involved in) which they promptly deleted after thinking better of it but was by then too late).
3. Twitter shows likes and unrelated replies
This is possibly less about the new layout and more about the functionality. It seems that Twitter wants to show you more tweets in your timeline. I’ve guessed that this may be because they tend to show a promoted / advert tweet around once every 10 tweets so the more tweets in your timeline the more adverts can appear.
I never saw these “X replied to Y” or “A liked B’s tweet” until April 2020 so I’m not sure if this is a consequence of the Good Twitter add-on failing, or a failure of the other options that I’d implemented (see number 4 in the list here).
When someone retweets a Tweet they intend for it to appear in their followers’ timeline. When they like a tweet they might not particularly want to do that. Showing someone’s likes in the timeline treats that like as it if had been a retweet, and confuses the sharing intention between likes (no) and RTs (yes), and also inflates the timeline with more tweets. Liking a tweet has always been a semi-public act in that you can visit anyone’s likes page to see all the tweets they’ve liked (eg mine) so this is particularly pointless.
There seems to be no option to switch it off (eg “never show me anyone’s likes in my timeline”) and the only way to solve it seems to be to repeatedly give negative feedback (“I don’t like this” / “Not relevant”) or block the person whose tweet was liked (you’ll never see anyone else like one of their tweets!) which is a ridiculous state of affairs. You have to keep doing this every time it happens until it stops (for how long I don’t know).
Of course some people will enjoy seeing what the people they follow are interacting with but it puts me off liking tweets (knowing that it may find its way into someone’s timeline).
I’ve started blocking people that I don’t follow whose tweets began appearing in my timeline with a reply from someone that I do follow. If I want to see someone’s conversations I can click on the Tweets & Replies option on their profile. In general I don’t really care if they’re having a conversation with someone that I don’t know, unless they (or someone else) chooses to RT it into my timeline. Doing that is someone’s active choice (“hey please look at this”) and is fine but having random conversations presented to me algorithmically is irritating.
Back in about 2011 / 2012 Twitter brought in an option to see (or not see) conversations between two or more people that you followed. Having the choice was nice but then they removed that option and now every time anyone replies to anyone (and you follow both) you may see the conversation pop up. Having to contend with conversations among people you don’t follow seems an irritation too far.
The lack of option to switch it off means that people who are very chatty in replies but less so in broadcast are likely to be annoying lots of people generally if there’s a high number of shared followers. The mute option is available but it seems a shame that you can’t tell Twitter you only want to see their broadcast tweets and not their chit-chat. Muting people you follow means you’ll only see tweets from them if they mention you. It’s not a great system for chatty people (eg me!).
4. Everything takes up more space
Tweets with images in seem larger, but inconsistently so. More investigation needed.
Lawrence Abrams “Twitter warns of legacy site theme shutting down on June 1” (8 May 2020) Bleeping Computer
u/frogspa “Legacy” twitter shutting down on 1st June (8 May 2020) Reddit
u/Skeleton_Warrior Has To Be Possible To Keep Legacy Twitter Post-June 1st (8 May 2020) Reddit
Here are the search results for the phrase “This is the legacy version of twitter.com.” – you can see that people haven’t greeted the news with much enthusiasm!
This is the search results link copied from Legacy Twitter: