X Media™ Company

X Adds AI-Generated News Summaries for Premium Subscribers

Not sure if this is a great innovation or a gateway to chaos, though that’s also been the case with most of Elon Musk’s updates at the platform formerly known as Twitter thus far, so…

This week, X has launched new news summaries, powered by its Grok AI engine, which will use X posts to come up with real-time summaries of the latest trending conversations in the app.

Stories on X

As you can see in this example, X Stories will provide an overview of whatever issues are gaining traction at any given time, giving you a quick way you to catch up on the main topics of discussion of the day.

Which is good in some ways. It’ll save you having to go through all the posts in a topic stream, for example, in order to determine key points, while it’ll also probably save you having to click through to a website to read more about the issue in-depth.

But it may not be so great in others.

For one, X is planning to use X posts exclusively for these summaries, which means that if those posts start to veer off-track, or, for example, use sarcasm, that could confuse things.

Like this:

Stories on X

Recently, X’s Grok AI system misinterpreted criticism of NBA star Klay Thompson’s shooting woes (chucking bricks) as Thompson going on a vandalism spree. Which is funny, and most simply saw the humorous side of the mistake.

But then there’s also this:

Stories on X

This incident never happened, but Grok misinterpreted various posts on X and generated this headline story.

Not as funny this time around.

Essentially, the reliance on X posts means also relying on a) those posts being accurate, and b) the system being able to accurately interpret meaning within each.

Which is a big ask, and the examples thus far would suggest that Grok is not quite at the level required as yet.

But there’s also another potential downside, which X owner Elon Musk likely doesn’t particularly care about, given his overt disdain for the media more broadly. By providing more detailed story summaries in-stream, and lessening the need for users to tap through to a website link, that will also reduce the value of X for news publishers, who are still key drivers of discussion in the app.

Logically, Musk wants to keep people on X for as long as possible, which is why he’s added in-stream articles and long-form posts as an alternative to driving traffic to news websites. Musk has also changed the way that link previews appear in-stream, with a view to making X more of a destination within itself, as opposed to a distributor for other sites.

But the problem is, if news publishers stop getting traction, and traffic, from X, they’re likely to stop posting there entirely, or at the least, scale back their activity.

Which may pose a significant problem when you also consider that 80% of X users never post or engage in the app. All of X’s content and engagement comes from just 20% of its user base, with the remainder logging on to check out what’s happening and that’s it.

And X is hugely valuable in this respect, as you can get quick summaries of all the major news stories from all the key publishers in your niche within a single stream.

But if they stop posting to X, those viewers might go looking elsewhere for a similar experience.

Conceptually, AI story summaries is an interesting idea, which also underlines Musk’s faith in his xAI project to deliver a better user experience. But it may not work out as smoothly in practice.

We’ll find out either way, X says that all X Premium subscribers now have access to these new summaries.

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