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Twitter's 'Suggested Users' List May Be Killed, CEO 'Desperately' Wants To Axe

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SAN FRANCISCO — If you're trying to figure out who to follow on Twitter, you might soon be turning to fellow users for help, rather than the company itself.

Evan Williams, the CEO and co-founder of the short-messaging site, said Tuesday that he "desperately" wants to retire or evolve the company's "suggested user" list, which offers suggestions of people to follow.

The list, which was launched early this year and is available to anyone logged in to Twitter, includes people and companies ranging from the actress Kirstie Alley to musician John Mayer to Southwest Airlines.

Just being on the list can provide an enormous boost to the number of followers a Twitter user has.

Williams, who was speaking at the Web 2.0 Summit in San Francisco, said the feature was initially rolled out as a way to help new Twitter users find people to connect with on the site. It has been controversial for a while, though, he said.

He hopes that it can be eliminated when Twitter rolls out an upcoming feature that will let people build their own lists of suggested users to follow.

According to a company blog post written in late September, the feature is being tested with a small group of users and is meant to allow the creation of lists of friends, businesses, and more. There will be an option to make the lists private, but they will be visible to other Twitter users by default. It is unknown when the feature will launch publicly.

If Twitter does get rid of the "suggested user" list, it could be eliminating a potential moneymaking tool – Jason Calacanis, who runs search engine Mahalo.com, wrote in a March post on his blog that he offered Twitter $250,000 to add him to the roster.

Twitter has yet to generate any meaningful revenue, and has largely kept quiet about how it may eventually do so.

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