Twitter has been testing a news alert service, and as we experienced firsthand today, many users aren’t happy about it.
As NASA’s Maven rocket launched toward Mars, we published a breaking news update. A few minutes later without our knowledge, Twitter resent our @breakingnews tweet as a notification to an unknown number of users as part of the ongoing test. Within moments, we began receiving complaints blaming @breakingnews for notifying them without permission.
— Daniel J Ruden (@djruden)
Within an hour, the complaints numbered into the hundreds. Many said they reported @breakingnews as spam or blocked our account for interrupting them with an insignificant story. A few said they were pleasantly surprised by the story.
We contacted Twitter to ask to be removed from the experiment, and we’re contacting everyone who complained to apologize for receiving a notification from us without permission.
We’re intimately aware of how people don’t like being spammed with breaking news stories that don’t matter to them. In fact, we just created a product that aims to solve that problem: a personalized Breaking News service, available on iOS and BreakingNews.com, where you can control the news you want to see.
As we’ve learned over the last few years running @breakingnews, push notifications are different than Tweets in a timeline. Due to the interruption factor, there’s a higher expectation of importance and relevancy. That’s why our new Breaking News app enables users to set their own custom alerts for topics and stories that matter to them.
— Melanie Daas (@MelanieDaas)
We’re huge fans of Twitter — in fact, I believe we were the first news organization that began with a Twitter account — and the Twitter Media team has been very responsive to us. We just hope today’s experiment isn’t a sign of where Twitter wants to take the news – back in time.
(Post by @corybe. Follow our team on @breaking.)