Twitter's new response limiting feature is already changing the way we talk on the platform


Twitter is testing a new feature that allows users to decide who can reply to their tweets, the company announced Wednesday, and some accounts are already using it in some interesting new ways.

Previously, anyone could reply to anyone on Twitter (as long as their profile wasn't private or blocked). But now, if you're part of the test, you can decide whether you want to allow everyone's answers, just the people you follow, or just the people you tag, which, if you don't tag anyone, it means no one can answer at all. . Deciding who can reply to each tweet tweet by tweet could change the way some people use the social media platform significantly.

Interviews on Twitter, for example, could be much more streamlined, and NBC's Twitter account for Meet the press has already shown an example of how. Meet the press announced an interview with NBC News " Andrea Mitchell and it only allowed the people it tagged in the tweet to reply, which in this case was just Mitchell. What followed almost felt like a long storm of tweets, split between two accounts.

Part of Meet the press’Twitter interview with Andrea Mitchell.

Limiting the way users can interact with Twitter live interviews means that pop-up conversations won't occur as easily in responses: in theory, you can still quote tweet messages even if those tweets have limited responses, and the conversations They could start that way. Still, the limitation means the interviews may not seem as organic as before.

On the plus side, the show does interviews. much easier to follow, which would have been useful for, for example, the messy #KaraJack interview between Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey and RecodeKara Swisher in February 2019. Dorsey had fun referencing that disaster by not allowing responses to this tweet:

The limited responses could also be used to help prevent the spread of spoilers for upcoming movies, TV shows, and video games. Thursday, for example, Naughty Dog published screenshots of his next PS4 title The last of us, part II, and limited responses to the people he tagged, who was nobody.

The last of us, part II, which will launch on June 19, promises to have a deeply engaging story, and the studio is doing its best on social media to keep that story a secret until the game launches, hence the move to disable responses. Naughty Dog is also trying to prevent people from sharing spoilers for the game's main leaks that hit the web in late April; Sony and Naughty Dog also disabled YouTube comments on the latest trailer.

There is the potential that limiting responses can be used in a more dire way. If politicians or public officials post misinformation and don't allow responses, people couldn't easily verify a tweet in the responses that would appear under the original misinformation, where it could go a long way in correcting the record. And curiously, the ACLU is arguing that public officials blocking responses would violate the First Amendment: President Donald Trump has not yet made use of the feature, but will surely inspire debate if he does.

In case of misinformation, if the original account doesn't allow replies to a tweet, users can still use a quote tweet to comment. Not the most ideal solution: only a quote tweet appears in you So a data check, for example, is probably not seen by everyone who saw the original tweet, but it's still a way to assess if you can't respond directly.

Here is an example what that might look like. However, please note that in this case, the quoted tweet did allow responses because it was published before Twitter implemented response blocking.

All that said, not allowing responses can have more joyous uses. I have to admit, I laughed at the Dorsey tweet I included earlier, and Lil Nas X went on to prove that she's a Twitter all-star with this. great joke:

New ideas are likely to emerge as more Twitter users have access to reply blocking, and I'm interested to see how people creatively use the feature. But I'm nervous to know what devilish things fast food brands will say when they can limit responses to each other.


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