Twitter is bringing its reply-limiting feature to all users, in one of the biggest changes in the service’s history. The tool, which has been in testing since the spring, will enable users to choose who, if anyone, can reply to individual tweets.
This new setting appears at the foot of a Twitter compose window will allow for tweeters to open up replies to people they follow or people they mention. Don’t mention anyone in the tweet? Then no-one can reply if that setting is enabled.
Those unable to reply to tweets will see the option greyed out in the same way those who protect their tweets from being retweeted. The default setting will continue to be ‘everyone’ unless the user states otherwise. The setting won’t affect who can like, retweet, retweet with comment and share the tweet.
Twitter says that since testing the feature since May, people have told them they feel more protected from abuse on the platform. It says those who submit abuse reports are 3x more likely to use the settings, while it has become an alternative to using the mute or block features.
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The firm said: “Problematic repliers aren’t finding another way – these settings prevented an average of three potentially abusive replies while only adding one potentially abusive Retweet with Comment. And, we didn’t see any uptick in unwanted Direct Messages.”
Twitter also says the rollout could lead to more meaningful conversations. The company says people are ‘sharing more of their thoughts’ and have ‘more sensitive conversations’ about the big issues.
Today’s blog post continues: “Those with a lot of followers use these settings to share more feelings, opinions, and personal news.”
Twitter claims this doesn’t limit dissenting viewpoints, because the retweet with comment tool becomes a more important vessel for starting new conversation threads based upon the original tweet, rather than within the replies.