Twitter is testing custom timelines curated by third-party services

Twitter logo on a Pixel 4 XL
(Image credit: Joe Maring / Android Central)

What you need to know

  • Twitter appears to be testing a new method to customize your timelines.
  • Customized timelines will display content curated by Twitter or third-party sources.
  • The test is currently only available on the web to a small number of users in the United States and Canada.

Twitter's Lists feature currently provides alternative timelines that allow you to swipe between multiple tabs in order to view tweets from different groups of accounts you've curated. However, the platform could open up its timeline curation to third-parties.

Twitter seems to be testing customized timelines, which allow third-party services to curate content that appears in a specific feed, as spotted by renowned app sleuth Jane Manchun Wong. According to references on Twitter's now-deleted help page, these curated feeds will display content based on interests and events.

Furthermore, customized timelines will display content curated by Twitter based on general insights. "For example, the Popular Videos Timeline created by Twitter, uses similar information to how we select topics to populate and order video content," the feature's description reads.

According to its description, the "custom feeds run parallel to the Home timeline and appear on a separate tab after you adopt the themed Timeline from a prompt."

The testing is currently limited to a small set of users in the United States and Canada on the web. Twitter will show a prompt about a timeline (a Popular Videos Timeline, for example) on the Home screen, and test participants can add that timeline next to their Home tab. They'll also be able to see the third-party that curates the content.

Tweets that appear in customized timelines are "selected and ordered based on relevance to the Timeline's theme using information like search terms, Topics, handles, and manual curation." Of course, there's an option to remove a timeline.

Wong's new discovery raises a couple of questions. Will these custom feeds result in a revamped home screen layout of Twitter on the web? Does Twitter intend to introduce a tabbed view to its web version similar to its mobile app?

Currently, Twitter's home screen displays a single view of tweets and retweets from people you follow. On Android phones, you can switch between the Home tab (or Latest Tweets tab) and any of your Twitter Lists. If this new evidence is any indication, Twitter's web version appears to be heading in that direction. 

Android Central has contacted Twitter for comment and will update this article when we hear back.

Jay Bonggolto
News Writer & Reviewer

Jay Bonggolto always keeps a nose for news. He has been writing about consumer tech and apps for as long as he can remember, and he has used a variety of Android phones since falling in love with Jelly Bean. Send him a direct message via Twitter or LinkedIn.