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Twitter may let you select who can reply to your tweets

Twitter is considering a new feature that would let you control who can reply to your tweets.

The news came via a Twitter presentation at CES in Las Vegas on Wednesday, January 8.

The idea is that it will give trolls and other miscreants a more challenging time if their aim is to hijack a conversation or hurl abuse at the poster.

So, how will the feature work? Well, to put restrictions on who can take part in the conversation linked to a particular tweet, you’ll be able to select from four options: Everyone (called Global), only those who follow you (Group), only those people who are mentioned in the tweet (Panel), or no one at all (Statement).

Of course, for public Twitter accounts, the tweet can still be viewed by everyone, but, depending on the selection you make, some or all of those people may not be able to respond.

Also, take note, you’ll only be able to apply limitations before you post the tweet — not after.

San Francisco-based Twitter said it will test the feature with select users in the coming months. It means that, if it gets an official launch, the workings of the feature could change a little bit from how it’s described above, but it will likely function in mostly the same way.

The upcoming feature is sure to prove popular with Twitter users fed up with being targeted with abuse on the platform. Many such users end up quitting Twitter altogether, so the company will be hoping that offering harassed users a way to control replies will lead to an improved Twitter experience and encourage them to stay.

Downsides? Well, the “no replies” option, for example, removes the opportunity for others to challenge the content of a tweet, which may include false information. It will also remove some of the interaction that the platform thrives on, and could frustrate users who have something interesting or constructive to add to the conversation.

The feature is the latest move geared toward giving Twitter users more control over their conversations. In November 2019, for example, it started allowing you to hide replies — whether they’re abusive, spammy, or simply unsuitable — with a couple of taps, enabling you to move them to a separate page that visitors to your account can access if they wish, also in a few taps.

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Trevor Mogg
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