Last May, Twitter began testing a new feature that let you limit who can reply to your tweets. The idea is to prevent trolling by only allowing your friends or people you mention to interact with your conversation. Now the company is rolling the feature out to its iOS and Android apps, and its web client.
Updated 8/11/202: Today, Twitter announced it is rolling out this feature to iOS, Android, and the web. The company also plans to expand the feature down the road to invite more people to join the conversation that you initially prevented from commenting. The feature is rolling out now to everyone.
Updated 8/6/2020: After publishing this article, Twitter issued a statement explaining that the latest release notes for the iOS app were issues an error. Twitter is not rolling the ability to limit replies to all users at this time.
The original report is left intact below.
Twitter can be a cesspool of hate, vitriol, and garbage, but it can also be a source of levity, relevant news, and connections with friends you’ve never met in person. But you either had to accept both sides of the coin or make your account private, which has downsides.
The social network’s new feature might help. When you start a tweet on iOS, you can select an option to limit who can reply to you. You can choose from “everybody,” “people you follow,” or “only people you mention.” That lets you control the conversation.
It’s easy to see the positives in that limitation, though it’s also likely to have some adverse outcomes too. It likely won’t be long before people use it to stifle meaningful conversation. Ultimately, any social network is only as good as its users.
Twitter’s latest update notes on the iOS App store make it clear that all users are getting access to the new feature, but it appears to be a roll-out. Some users are reporting that even after updating, they’re not seeing the new dialogue. It’s not clear if or when the web and Android versions of Twitter will get the feature.