Say goodbye to unsolicited replies on Twitter because the social network has added a feature that allows you to decide who can reply to your tweets after you post them. This functionality gives you more ownership of your tweets, more privacy, and better interaction with other users. And it can be an effective tool in the fight against online trolls, bullies, and stalkers.
Twitter introduced a broadly similar feature last year. It was designed to enable you to choose who could reply to your tweets before posting them. But you couldn’t go back and change your preference after your tweet went online. Now, thanks to the new feature, you can choose to receive replies only from users you follow or users you specify – and at any time.
Background: Idea Behind Twitter’s Tweet Reply Control
A fortnight ago, Twitter disclosed that it was looking at some new feature concepts. Among them was “Trusted Friends,” a feature that will enable you to show your tweets to your preferred audience.
But what’s the big idea? For a while now, Twitter has been working to reduce “unhealthy conversations” on the platform. In 2018, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey told lawmakers he wanted to “increase the health of public conversation.” That same year, the social network deleted swathes of accounts “as part of ongoing and global effort to build trust and encourage healthy conversation on Twitter.”
Twitter’s “about” webpage states that “[the company] wants people…to have safe, inclusive, and authentic conversations. With that goal in mind, [Twitter works] hard to minimize toxic and illegal content. And give people tools to control their interactions.” The new tweet reply feature is a means to that end.
In some ways, Twitter’s new tweet reply feature can be likened to the “who can see my status update” setting on WhatsApp. Or the “connection request limit” feature on LinkedIn. Because they all focus on more control, privacy, and keeping a trusted circle of friends.