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Twitter hopes to electrify new users with news-tracker Project Lightning

To grow its audience, the microblogging site plans a revamp that uses large-scale photos and videos to highlight trending events.

Twitter is planning a new product that would highlight trending events with large-scale photos and videos. James Martin/CNET

Twitter is planning a major overhaul this year. The social network has revealed plans to launch a new feature called Project Lightning, which puts photos and videos of talked-about events front and center on the site.

The idea is to highlight trending events -- like the NBA finals, the Grammys or the earthquake in Nepal -- by running a series of photos, videos and other tweets. On mobile, the images will take up the full smartphone screen. With the revamp, Twitter will be adding a new button in the home row that takes users to the photos, videos and tweets, according to a Buzzfeed report Thursday.

A Twitter spokeswoman confirmed that Project Lightning is under development but said the company isn't giving additional details at this time.

Twitter is in the middle of a management shakeup, with CEO Dick Costolo exiting and chairman and co-founder Jack Dorsey filling his shoes in the interim. The microblogging site has had a difficult time satisfying Wall Street since it went public in 2013. Analysts say the company has failed to build out new products and lure more users.

The goal with Project Lightning is to get more people looking at Twitter, according to Buzzfeed. Since Lightning can be found on Twitter.com for mobile and desktop, as well as in embeds on other websites, people can see the photos, videos and tweets even if they're not Twitter users. The social network is counting on recruiting new users through these other avenues.

Twitter has been working on Project Lightning since January, according to Buzzfeed, but it's still not estimated to roll out for another few months.

Also Thursday, Bloomberg reported that Twitter is "working on a marketing campaign to better explain how to use its services." Twitter did not respond to a request for comment.