Twitter Scraps Suggested User List

Twitter's decision to eliminate its suggested user list came in response to alleged discrepancies and biases that appeared in how big-name users were selected to be featured on the list.

Biz Stone, Twitter co-founder, told a group of reporters during a conference in Malaysia that the suggested user list would be eliminated as the company was transitioning its system into a more pragmatic way of introducing its celebrity tweeters, such as sports figures, film stars and politicians, to newcomers to the site.

Twitter's suggested user list, launched last year, features about 500 potential high profile "suggested users," who are hand-picked by Stone and Twitter employees. The list was intended to provide a helpful transition to new Twitter users by offering suggestions of which companies, bands, politicians and celebrities to follow on the site.

But critics say that the list is even more beneficial for those mentioned as "suggested users," as it can boost their follower traffic by tens or hundreds of thousands of Twitter followers.

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Subsequently, the suggested user features has been met with a firestorm of criticism from users who claim that the list exhibited biases, favoring Democrats over Republicans, for example, during state elections.

Stone said that previously, executives selected "suggested users" on the list based on criteria that included the frequency of posts, known as tweets, and the projected value the posting brought to the site. Going forward, Stone indicated that the suggested user list could eventually be based on new users' interests and feedback, although when and how the list would be revamped remains to be determined.

Meanwhile, Twitter also plans to add new features such as a more expedient and efficient way to forward messages, along with translation into languages in addition to the site's existing English, Japanese and Spanish.

The user-base of San Francisco-based Twitter has skyrocketed over the last year to 54 million, as more tweeters have used the site to post small messages of up to 140 characters about everything from personal details to breaking news and business related topics.