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Twitter trying new feature that allows users to CHOOSE who can reply to tweets

Twitter trying new feature that allows users to CHOOSE who can reply to tweets

A limited array of Twitter users are being given access to an experimental new feature on the platform which allows people to silence critics, trolls and fact-checkers alike by choosing who can and cannot reply to their tweets.

The feature is being tested globally with a limited percentage of users before it’s officially rolled out across the platform. The new element presents three options for who can reply to a tweet before you publish it: everyone, people you follow, only people you mention.

https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

According to an announcement video from Twitter, anyone is still allowed to like, view and retweet conversations, but you can only participate in a conversation if you are directly invited by the original tweeter.

https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

Twitter itself has already been taking advantage of their new feature. The social media giant asked users to “reply if there’s a better app” in a Wednesday tweet sent out shortly after the launch of the ‘choose your replies’ experiment. If anyone wants to respond with a real answer, they don’t have the opportunity as Twitter blocked anyone from replying, likely foreshadowing the sort of unchallenged tweets we will be seeing on the platform in the near future.

https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

In a blog post describing the new feature, Suzanne Xie, Twitter’s director of product management, claims it will “give people more opportunities to weigh in” on conversations, but also says it will grant “people control over the conversations they start.”

The feature appears to certainly give people “control” over conversations they begin since they can limit who can and cannot directly reply to them, but it’s unclear how the feature presents “more opportunities” for people to “weigh in” since direct interaction will be limited based on a user’s discretion, meaning it would be difficult for someone with a contrary opinion to a tweet – or who has facts that may disprove something in the post – to be able to “weigh in” as easily.

Xie doesn’t get into these serious questions in the announcement blog and instead recommends using the new aspect to “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.”

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Twitter may be keeping things light, but the social media giant has a long history of suspected shadow banning based on political bias and general censorship. This new feature presents an opportunity for users to essentially censor their own conversations by building a bubble around it, something people will no doubt take full advantage of in these partisan times.

Some users, however, have already pointed out that there will still be ways around the “choose your reply” option if you really want to troll someone. “Blocking all replies will just lead to someone screencapping you and everyone tagging you in the replies to that. So enjoy,” one user tweeted.

https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

Other critics mocked Twitter’s efforts and pointed to the fact that this feature presents an opportunity for abuse, as well as spreading misinformation by limiting engagement in conversations.

https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

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Twitter trying new feature that allows users to CHOOSE who can reply to tweets

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