The new feature in testing will give you more control over who can participate in a conversation with you.
According to a new blog post, Twitter is currently working on settings that let you take control of who can reply to your posts and join in on your conversations. With this setting, before you send a tweet, you’ll be prompted to select who can reply from three options: everyone (which will be set by default), people you follow, and only people you mention.
Only a limited number of people across iOS, Android, and the Web can still use this feature; however, their conversations are still apparent to all other users.
Any tweets set to ‘people you follow’ or ‘only people you mention’ will be labeled as such and the reply button will be grayed out, letting people know they cannot reply. However, all users would still be able to view, like, retweet, or retweet with comment.
Twitter has been planning to give its users more control over their tweets for quite some time now. Like all things, this feature has its upsides and downsides. On one hand, it can help users make conversations easier to follow and prevent online bullying; on the other, it may create more ‘filter bubbles,’ in which people’s biases and political point of views hail.
There is a very valid concern that public officials might abuse this feature. Kayvon Beykpour (@kayvz), who oversees Twitter’s product team, has assured that a complete risk analysis is being done at Twitter.
We’re def paying attention to the risk vectors of this. We also believe emphasizing the availability of quote tweets (and easily seeing those via tapping the “Retweets” label) is crucial to ensure we’re balancing control we give authors with counter-speech https://t.co/jQwJpxGV0X https://t.co/E956lLOOEo
— Kayvon Beykpour (@kayvz) May 20, 2020
This feature was first teased by Twitter at CES, 2020 in January. The original version had an additional option for no replies termed ‘Statement’. There were also different names for the other options in the earlier version; ‘Global’ meaning ‘everyone’, ‘Group’ for all people followed or mentioned by the account, and ‘Panel’ that only lets mentioned people reply.
In its last November release, Twitter has also enabled users to hide all comments from a tweet.
As said by Twitter’s Director of Product Management, Suzanne Xie (@suzannexie) in the blog post
“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.”
It is still to be seen when or if the new featured will be made available generally.