Techworld

Twitter appears to try out a news delivery service

An experimental account appeared on the site to send news-related direct messages

Twitter is known to experiment with new features to give its users more ways to find and follow content. Here's what appears to be the latest: a news delivery service.

A new account called "Event Parrot" appeared on the site at least several hours ago. The account, which identifies itself as a Twitter experiment, is designed to send direct messages to its followers to "help you keep up with what's happening in the world."

Twitter declined to comment on the account, or clarify when exactly it was created. But with more than 14,000 followers as of press time, it is already gaining some traction.

The Event Parrot account introduced itself in a tweet Thursday morning, which read: "Hello world. So happy to keep in the know about what's happening in the world."

The account gained a verified check mark during the morning, which is something that Twitter gives to the accounts of certain prominent individuals and brands to establish their authenticity.

Signs point to the account being a Twitter-run experiment. "A common thread across recent releases has been experimentation," Twitter said in a September blog post on the topic of experiments. "We've tested various features with small groups of our 200 million users before determining what we'll release."

Twitter has been doing more experiments in recent months, the company said, so much so that it's rare for a day to go by that it does not release at least one experiment.

How the Event Parrot account is supposed to work, however, is less clear. Some reports have cited the delivery of direct messages involving world news like 2013 Nobel Prize announcements, or the kidnapping of Libya's prime minister. How Twitter will decide which news might be more relevant for which people isn't clear.

Event Parrot is a curious experiment for Twitter because many of its users already use the site to gather news from their contacts and news organizations.

The most recent Twitter experiment to be turned into a full-fledged feature was its Magic Recs account. That account is designed to notify users of certain tweets or contacts that Twitter determines would be of interest to them, based on the people in their network.

Zach Miners covers social networking, search and general technology news for IDG News Service. Follow Zach on Twitter at @zachminers. Zach's e-mail address is zach_miners@idg.com

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