Fears of Twitter changing to display tweets in no order erupted after a number of users were given access to the new system. As an expansion of the 'While you were away' feature seen by users for the past year, the update uses an algorithm to display tweets most important to you first, rather than in time order.
News of the changes spread like wildfire and before long the #RIPTwitter hashtag was being used to express complaints around the world. Users were angry, and mostly still reeling from claims Twitter would extend the character limit per tweet from 140 to 10,000.
Defending the changes, chief executive Jack Dorsey said: "I want you all to know we're always listening. We never planned to reorder timelines next week [week beginning 8 February]...Twitter is live. Twitter is real-time. Twitter is about who and what you follow. And Twitter is here to stay! By becoming more Twitter-y."
The 39-year-old went on: "Look at 'while you were away' at the top of your [timeline]. Tweets you missed from people you follow. Pull to refresh to go back to real-time...I *love* real-time. We love the live stream. It's us. And we're going to continue to refine it to make Twitter feel more, not less, live!"
A major concern from users of the new system had been that Twitter was no longer a live, news platform and had instead become more like Facebook. The rival social network faced its own backlash when statuses, pictures and other posts began to be displayed in reverse chronological order. This, and claims Twitter wanted to massively increase the size of each tweet, led many to believe it was copying Facebook.
Dorsey concluded: "Twitter can help make connections in real-time based on dynamic interests and topics, rather than a static social/friend graph. We get it...Thank you all for your passion and trust. We will continue to work to earn it, and we will continue to listen, and talk!"