Either we’ve entered an alternate reality where Twitter cares about its users or something good has actually happened online for a change: The social networking site is bringing back the option to view your timeline in reverse chronological order.
Twitter Support announced Tuesday that it’s working on a way for users to switch between timelines with the “most relevant” tweets and the latest tweets. In the meantime, you can choose to turn off the “Show the best tweets first” setting, allowing you to see only the tweets from people you follow, not those recommended or “In case you missed it” tweets that have been clogging the TL.
In a follow-up tweet, Twitter says it hopes to “eventually replace this setting when the easier-to-access switch described above is available”.
5/ Meanwhile, today we updated the “Show the best Tweets first” setting. When off, you’ll only see Tweets from people you follow in reverse chronological order. Previously when turned off, you’d also see “In case you missed it” and recommended Tweets from people you don’t follow.
— Twitter Support (@TwitterSupport) September 17, 2018
This occurred shortly after a thread explaining how to effectively rig your timeline into a reverse chronological situation went viral. User @EmmaKinema found that “muting suggest_recycled_tweet_inline and suggest_activity_tweet” reversed her timeline to chronological order. (Twitter told The Verge that the changes have been in the works for some time.)
Twitter’s timeline algorithm has been an oft complained-about feature of the site, second perhaps only to the Nazis. For those readers who aren’t active users, the current algorithm means users might see tweets from 12 hours prior mixed with those posted mere seconds ago, a confusing juxtaposition, particularly in the middle of breaking news or an event — such as the State of Origin or an awards show — that people live-tweet on the site. Users will also see tweets simply liked by people they follow, as opposed to retweeted, obscuring the different functions between the two actions.
If you don’t trust Twitter to keep the reverse chronological feature, there are a few ways around it, beyond the hack mentioned in the thread above: You can use Tweetdeck or Tweetbot, and you should be able to view a timeline uninfluenced by the algorithm, promoted tweets or “in case you missed” modules.