Why People Whom You Are Not Following Are Showing Up In Your Twitter Stream
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People are asking “why are people who I don’t follow showing up in my Twitter stream?” If you are noticing that the tweets of people whom you don’t follow are showing up in your Twitter timeline, here’s why.

First, so far as we’ve been able to determine, this only happens when you are viewing your Twitter stream on the web – in other words, through your web browser. If you are following your Twitter stream through your Twitter client, you probably won’t have this problem.


Ok, so if you find that the tweets of people whom you don’t follow on Twitter are somehow showing up in your Twitter stream, what’s happening is that someone whom you do follow has retweeted that person.

So why is that retweet showing up as if the original author of the tweet is someone whom you are following, when you aren’t actually following them?

This is a function of how the retweeter’s (the person you are following) Twitter client passes the retweeted message to Twitter, although at this point we’re not sure whether it’s something Twitter has intentionally enabled for some or not.

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Here are some examples of how this can look – this is from my actual Twitter timeline on my web browser:

 

twitter-retweet-inserted-in-timeline

 

Even though I am not following TechCrunch or TechPolicy, they are showing up in my Twitter timeline as if I were, with their icon (avatar), not that of the person who is actually retweeting them (in this case Chris Pirillo).

 

As you can see, in my Twitter client, Twhirl, I don’t even see those ‘interesting’ forms of retweets at all – Chris Pirillo’s retweets of TechCrunch and TechPolicy don’t even show up.

 

twitter-timeline-in-twhirl

 

Now here is what a normal retweet in my timeline, but not by Chris, and not for TechPolicy or TechCrunch, looks like.

 

twitter-retweet-normal

 

Now, the most likely explanations for this are that in the web view (which is what Twitter can control, unlike the view in 3rd-party Twitter applications) Twitter has arranged either for high-profile users, such as TechCrunch and TechPolicy, to show up in users’ timeline when retweeted, or that Chris Pirillo has been given that near-god-like power when he retweets something. However, a note to my buddy Chris, and his response, suggests that the latter is not the case (or if it is, Chris wasn’t aware of it, and Twitter – or TechCrunch and TechPolicy – really should be paying him).

Twitter did put a notice of new retweeting formats up on the site some time ago, but they never mentioned a “you’ll see the (re)tweets of people you don’t follow as if you did follow them” ‘feature’, and frankly, we don’t like it.

No Paywall Here!
The Internet Patrol is and always has been free. We don't hide our articles behind a paywall, or restrict the number of articles you can read in a month if you don't give us money. That said, it does cost us money to run the site, so if something you read here was helpful or useful, won't you consider donating something to help keep the Internet Patrol free?
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One thought on “Why People Whom You Are Not Following Are Showing Up In Your Twitter Stream
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  1. I have contacted Twitter about this. It is obviously a bug but with the roll out of New Twitter they say they are bogged down with other issues so it may take a while to get fixed.

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