Earlier this year, Twitter started testing out a feature that allowed users to specify who could reply to their Tweets. After what seems like an eternity the feature is now rolling out to every Twitter user.
The feature was supposed to be introduced in Q1 of 2020 but it didn’t meet that deadline. It allows users of the social media application to choose from 3 options when selecting how others interact with their tweets;
- Anyone can reply;
- only those who a user follows can reply;
- a tweet cannot be replied at all.
When the change was announced months ago, the motivation was to give users more control;
The primary motivation is control. We want to build on the theme of authors getting more control and we’ve thought that there are many analogs of how people have communications in life.Kayvon Beykpour – VP of Product, Twitter
We thought, well, what if we could actually put more control into the author’s hands before the fact? Give them really a way to control the conversation space, as they’re actually composing a tweet? So there’s a new project that we’re working on.
The reason we’re doing this is if we think about what conversation means on Twitter. Right now, public conversation on Twitter is you tweet something everyone in the world will see and everyone can reply, or you can have a very private conversation in a DM. So there’s an entire spectrum of conversations that we don’t see on Twitter yet.Suzanne Xie, the head of conversations for Twitter
I think the feature will be a great way to have certain types of conversations between a group of individuals – for instance a QnA (between two accounts) without any other replies to distract users reading that thread. I can also see the community discussions being held through this feature so it is mostly useful.
The downside I can see is that this potentially magnifies filter bubbles where users only get interaction from people with views similar to theirs. To be fair this has been an issue for a long time so the feature doesn’t massively change that.