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Twitter tests a new feature that limits who can reply to your tweets

Published May 20th, 2020 4:00PM EDT
Twitter Thread
Image: AP/Shutterstock

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  • Twitter today announced that it’s testing a new feature designed to limit who can reply to your tweets.
  • The new conversation setting has three new options. The first allows anyone to reply. The second allows people you follow to reply. The third allows only people you mention in a post to reply.
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For as informative and engaging as Twitter can be, conversations on the social networking site can quickly become unmanageable at best. At worst, Twitter threads can quickly become a cesspool of hate and vitriol.

In an effort to address this, Twitter earlier today announced that it’s testing new conversation settings that would allow tweeters to dictate just who is able to reply to certain posts. While there are some tweets you want to push out into the world, there are other times when you may only want to solicit or entertain replies from people you actually follow yourself.

As Twitter details in a blog post published today, the new feature will give people who tweet three options to choose from. The first option gives everyone the ability to respond, which is the current default setting on the site. The second option only allows people you follow to respond. The third option only allows people you explicitly mention in the tweet to respond. The photo below illustrates how the new thread options might be displayed to users:

Twitter tests a new Conversations setting Image source: Twitter

If you stumble across a protected thread, you’ll still be able to view it, you just won’t be able to contribute.

Twitter notes:

Being able to participate and understand what’s happening is key for useful public conversation. So, we’re exploring how we can improve these settings to give people more opportunities to weigh in while still giving people control over the conversations they start. In addition to this, we’re making it easier to read all conversations around a Tweet with a new layout for replies and more accessible Retweets with comments.

One thing we know for sure is that you’ll be creative with this update. Maybe you’ll host a debate on the benefits of pineapple on pizza (#TeamPineapple) with fellow pizza pals or invite a panel of distinguished guests for a fireside chat. You could even play a game of tic-tac-toe for people to follow along without messing up your moves. We’re excited to see what you do!

The new feature is currently being tested on a limited basis for select people across a number of Twitter platforms. There’s no indication when the feature will roll out to all users, but it’s definitely something to keep in mind if you see it pop up as an option in the coming weeks or months.

Will the new conversation setting make Twitter more enjoyable and threads easier to navigate? It’s possible. It’s also possible that threads could become a lot less lively and interesting.

Yoni Heisler Contributing Writer

Yoni Heisler has been writing about Apple and the tech industry at large with over 15 years of experience. A life long expert Mac user and Apple expert, his writing has appeared in Edible Apple, Network World, MacLife, Macworld UK, and TUAW.

When not analyzing the latest happenings with Apple, Yoni enjoys catching Improv shows in Chicago, playing soccer, and cultivating new TV show addictions.