After almost three months of testing, Twitter has finally launched its reply-limiting attribute for select users around the world.
In an attempt to stave off and even put a stop to spam, hate speech, threats, abuse, and other unwelcome remarks, the platform is giving users control over who can reply to their tweets. This includes followers, people mentioned in the tweet, or everyone – the latter being set to default.
As the Director of Product Management, Suzanne Xie stated: “We’ve learned a lot from usage, feedback interviews, and surveys. These settings help some people feel safer and could lead to more meaningful conversations, while still allowing people to see different points of view.”
While this ensures that meaningful conversations are upheld, some are raising their concerns about the new feature inflicting collateral damage. That the idea of limiting responses can also mean suppressing opposing views in political and social issues, for example. This could lead to influencing and shaping public opinion in a bad light.
Having said that, Twitter has already contemplated this possibility. Hence, the company noted.
“People are sharing more of their thoughts —tweets using these settings about topics like Black Lives Matter and COVID-19 are on average longer than those that don’t use these settings.
Differing views can still be shared with Retweets with Comments, which sometimes reach a larger audience than the original Tweet. Several times, we saw more Likes and views on a Retweet with Comment than on the original Tweet, even though the original Tweet author had more followers.”
It is worth noting that users who were incapable of responding to a tweet still have the ability to view, retweet, retweet with comment, share, and like the conversation.
The reply-restricting feature has been made available for all Android and iOS users, as well as for Twitter desktop version.