Twitter Tests Breaking News Push Notifications

The company has pushed news updates on the Berlin Christmas market crash and Fidel Castro’s death, with more possibly on the way.

Twitter wants to be a news app, having recently moved to that category from the “social networking” category in the iOS App Store. And so now it’s doing a thing most top-tier news apps do: pushing breaking news notifications.

After a truck crashed into the Berlin Christmas market today, for instance, Twitter pushed a breaking news alert to some of its users that linked to Twitter’s Moments tab, which summarizes the news in tweets. The company did a similar thing when Fidel Castro died last month.

Twitter has been sending these breaking news alerts as part of a larger test notifying users about real-time content appearing on the platform, a Twitter spokesperson confirmed. In the past, the company has also sent some users notifications about The Bachelorette, for example.

The company uses an algorithm to decide who gets notified about what topics. And remember, it’s a test, so there’s a chance it might go away. If you decide you don’t like Twitter pushing you these alerts, you can head into the settings section of its app and turn the notifications off.

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Alex Kantrowitz is a senior technology reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in San Francisco. He reports on social and communications.
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