Twitter announced yesterday that new conversation settings are being tested, which can restrict the number of people that can respond to a tweet that you post. The new settings will hand over better privacy controls to users, who can choose to keep replies open for everyone should they wish to. However, you can also restrict the number of people that can reply to your tweets to either the people you follow, or people whom you tag as mentions in your tweets.
A Twitter spokesperson confirmed that as of now, the feature is being tested with only a select number of users worldwide. The move can majorly help improve the quality of conversations on Twitter, where popular tweets can often be riddled by automated bots programmed to respond based on keywords, or by online trolls that can disrupt a natural flow of conversation. By restricting who can reply, Twitter threads can now be read as interactions between two individuals on a particular topic, should they wish to.
In a media statement announcing the commencement of testing of the restricted replies feature, Twitter also said, "Being able to participate and understand what's happening is important for useful public conversation. So, we're exploring how we can improve these settings to give people more opportunities to weigh in while still giving people control over the conversations they start. In addition to this, we’re making it easier to read all conversations around a tweet with a new layout for replies and more accessible retweets with comments."
The move comes as questions around cyber bullying and online harrassment continue to grow for all social media platforms. While the "bois locker room" controversy sent social media into dizzying debates a few weeks ago, TikTok's content issues were recently highlighted with an influencer posting what was deemed as a video that promoted acid attacks on women. Going forward, it remains to be seen if these restrictions can help make platforms like Twitter a better place for mainstream users.