Twitter may describe itself as a town square, but that doesn’t mean you have to talk to everyone who walks past the cafe seats. Today, in order to increase the number of “meaningful conversations” on Twitter and help people eliminate abuse and spam in their replies.
The company announced that it will launch a new feature where users can restrict who can respond or replies to Tweets.
Sometimes people are more comfortable talking about what’s happening when they can choose who can reply. Today, we’re launching conversations settings so unwanted replies don’t get in the way of meaningful conversations. https://t.co/LRIeXxnYam
— Suzanne Xie (@suzannexie) August 11, 2020
Suzanne Xie pointed out in the blog post that released the feature that after a short beta test, the feature will be rolled out to iOS and Android apps and users of twitter.com worldwide starting today.
A small globe icon will start to appear at the bottom of your tweet, and if you do nothing, everyone can still reply-this is the default option. Or you can tap it and limit replies to only people who follow you, or only to people you tagged in your tweet.
And, if you choose the third one and don’t tag anyone, then it’s also a way to broadcast a tweet or string of tweets without any replies at all.
This all applies to “open” accounts; by default, those accounts that are locked and can view their tweets are restricted; and it does not seem to replace the hidden replies option introduced by Twitter last year.
People who cannot reply will see a gray icon, but they can still view, repost, repost with comments, and “like” these tweets.
The basic idea of limiting responses is to strengthen control. Specifically, setting parameters around people who can reply can help the original poster to reduce abusive or trolling replies, or limit replies to keep the conversation normal.
Of the many use cases common on Twitter, both are particularly important. Those who tweet on sensitive issues or political topics bring out the classic scenes of trolls.
Those who are trying to broadcast a dialogue with a specific group can now have an uninterrupted dialogue.
Xie said the beta test feedback was positive. Users who use this feature say they feel more at ease and free from spam and abuse, and are using the feature: it found that users who submit abuse reports and have access to the new restricted response tool are three times more likely to use the settings Times.
Restricted replies seem to be a supplement to muting and blocking, not a substitute: 60% of users with restricted replies have not muted and blocked other users.
Xie did not mention how it was used with another spam control feature that Twitter launched last year, hiding replies.
People who cannot reply directly can still repost tweets with comments, so they can still insert what they want to say. But Xie pointed out that “these settings prevented three potentially abusive replies on average, and only added one potentially abusive repost with a comment,” adding that there was no increase in unwanted direct messages.
The features officially began to roll out in a limited test in May, and the version was launched today. However, the bigger ideas behind the new features are earlier than this year.
Twitter has been working hard for years to find better ways to spread its open social platform to prevent it from being exploited and abused.
The problem stems from the basic DNA of the platform: Twitter’s idea is that anyone can reply to anyone else, regardless of whether two users follow each other or whether someone wants to hear a specific reply.
It’s worth pointing out that Twitter has been working hard to better detect and help users report original tweets, which are abusive, discriminatory, fake news, and other content.
This is probably the most important point here and this is a positive impact on the platform, but it is still a step in a long journey to improve the overall Twitter climate.